Democrat targets ‘lies’ of newly elected GOP congressman with SANTOS Act: ‘Stop Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker’

New York Congressman Ritchie Torres announced a bill that will force Congressional candidates to disclose their employment, educational and military history in order to ensure they can’t lie about their credentials during their campaign, and he’s named the bill after the scandal-plagued Republican Congressman-elect George Santos.

Mr Torres, a Democrat, announced the legislation on Thursday in a tweet.

"BIG NEWS: I am introducing a bill to require candidate to disclose under oath their employment, educational, & military history so we can punish candidates who lie to voters about their qualifications," he wrote. "It will be called the Stop Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker (SANTOS) ACT."

“George Santos pretended to be a Ukrainian, Belgium, Brazilian, Catholic, Jew, whose mother died twice — including in 9/11, whose ancestors survived the Holocaust and whose employees died in the Pulse mass shooting and who became a millionaire overnight,” Mr Torres toldThe New York Post. “It’s absurd. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so serious.”

Should the bill advance through Congress and be signed into law, it would impose a fine of $100,000 or up to a year of prison on candidates who lie to voters about their background.

Mr Santos, who is set to take over New York’s 3rd Congressional District, is facing at least two investigations — one state and one federal — after a New York Times story unravelling the various stories he has told about his life.

The Times story revealed that Mr Santos never graduated from Baruch College or New York University, despite his claims that he attended both. He also never worked for a pair of investment firms he claimed once employed him, and a charity helping stray dogs and cats said he never made a donation to them he claimed he made.

That story led to several other stories in other outlets that found despite his claim that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, they were actually born in Brazil, that he had divorced a woman just weeks before launching his 2020 political campaign even though he later claimed he was gay, and that his mother did not die in the 9/11 attacks despite a claim it “took her life.”

During an interview with The New York Post, Mr Santos admitted to “embellishing” parts of his biography, and explained away the question of his grandparents surviving the Holocaust by saying he never claimed to be “Jewish,” just that he was “Jew-ish.”

He also came clean about his claim that he owned 13 properties. He told the outlet — and did so inexplicably in the third person — that "George Santos does not own any properties."

Mr Torres seized on that while needling the incoming Congressman for charging supporters to tour the Capitol during his inauguration.

"George Santos, who never misses an opportunity to violate Congressional Ethics, is charging people for touring the US Capitol and attending his Congressional swearing-in," Mr Torres wrote on Twitter. "Is the US Capitol one of the 13 properties in the imaginary Santos real estate empire?"

He also pointed out that Mr Santos incorrectly stated in a flier that his inauguration was to be held on 3 January 2022, rather than 2023.

"He can’t even get the facts right even when he isn’t lying," Mr Torres concluded.

Mr Santos’ lies have led to calls from Democrats for him to resign and condemnation from some Republicans. Matt Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, issued a statement Tuesday saying that the congressman-elect "deceived us and misrepresented his heritage."

"In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish," Mr Brooks said. "He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event."

New York Republican Congressmen-elect Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito both issued statements on Tuesday calling for Mr Santos to be subjected to an ethic investigation — or potentially a criminal probe — into his lies.

Former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard — who switched her allegiance to "Independent" but has been appearing on Fox News espousing conservative talking points for the last month — asked Mr Santos if he had "no shame" during a grill session on the news network.

However, he does have one friend in the party — Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said Republicans "should give George Santos a chance and see how he legislates and votes."