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(The Ups and) Downs of George Santos


New York Representative George Santos got kicked out of Congress on December 1st, 2023. When first elected in November 2022, he broke boundaries as the first openly LGBT member elected to Congress as a non-incumbent Republican; however, his 11 months in Congress were marked by controversy, starting with his lies about his education at Baruch and New York University that began unraveling within the first few months of his term. Here’s a collection of Santos’ best fabrications:

1) 9/11 

Santos stated in a Twitter post that the September 11 attacks “claimed my mother’s life,” saying she had been in the South Tower at the time. Genealogists, however, later found documents showing that his mother wasn’t even in the country in 2001. When she applied for a U.S. visa in 2003, she wrote she hadn’t been in the country since 1999. 

2) Catholic or “Jew-ish”?

Santos has claimed to be a conservative Roman Catholic numerous times in his political career, yet he has also stated in a campaign position paper that he is a “proud American Jew.”  In an interview discussing this confusion, he announced “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’” While it’s perfectly fine to change religions, it’s another thing to lie about one’s ancestry. His campaign website reads “George’s grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII,”  but genealogy reports show that Santos does not have any Jewish heritage. In fact, his family records point to his maternal grandparents being born in Brazil, where his last name is common for Catholics. 

3) Money Trail

According to campaign investigators, Santos did not only spend campaign money for his own personal travel to places like Atlantic City and the Hamptons, but also used it for spa services and botox. He swindled donors out of thousands of dollars, telling them the money would be used for the campaign; Instead, he used it to pay personal credit card debts and purchases at places like OnlyFans, Hermes and Sephora.

4) Volleyball Star

In a 2020 radio interview, Santos talked about his volleyball scholarship at Baruch College and how his team “slayed” Harvard and Yale. Apparently, he was such a dedicated player that he had to get “knee replacements from playing volleyball.” Later, he told the New York Post that he had never attended Baruch College (or NYU), as he had previously said.

5) Animal Lover

In Santos’ campaign biography, he declared that he ran an animal charity named Friends of Pets United; however, this charity has no record of being registered and there are no IRS records. Santos had taken the checks written to his charity and used a pseudonym, Anthony Devolder, in order to cash them in. To add to this mess, a disabled veteran had asked for his help in raising money to save his service dog which needed a $3,000 surgery for its stomach tumor. Through a GoFundMe set up by the charity, the money was collected, yet Santos refused to give it up. The dog died less than a year later.

Looking at just a couple of Santos’ wrongdoings, it’s relatively simple to see why the House voted 311 to 114 to expel him. Not to mention, he faces 23 federal charges, and is the first member to be kicked out from the House in more than two decades. An immediate result of his dismissal is the issue of an empty seat in the House. There will be a special election on February 13, 2024 to determine Santos’ replacement. The Democrats have nominated the previous holder of the position, Tom Suozzi, while Republicans nominated Mazi Melesa Pilip who is currently a county legislator. The race is expected to be a tossup, so keep an eye out for the result!


Matt Stieb, Margaret Hartmann. “Here’s Every Single Lie Told by George Santos.” Intelligencer, 1 Dec. 2023, 

Moore, Mark. “George Santos Said in 2020 He Helped Baruch Volleyball Team That ‘slayed’ Harvard, Yale.” New York Post, New York Post, 17 Jan. 2023, 

Looker, Rachel. “George Santos Faces Expulsion Vote: Timeline of Lies, Investigations and Calls for Resignation.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 Dec. 2023, 

Berkowitz, Ben. “List of George Santos Lies: All the Mistruths the Congressman Is Accused of Telling.” NBC New York, NBC New York, 9 May 2023, 

Wilson, Kristin, and Haley Talbot. “GOP Rep. George Santos Expelled from House.” CNN, Cable News Network, 1 Dec. 2023, 

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