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Embattled US Rep George Santos won’t seek re-election after damning ethics report

U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) speaks to members of the media after his Congressional colleagues voted not to expel him from the House, after he was indicted on 23 federal corruption charges, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 1, 2023. REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Embattled Republican U.S. Representative George Santos said on Thursday he will not run for re-election in an announcement made shortly after the release of a scathing report by fellow lawmakers that referred more “uncharged and unlawful conduct” to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.

But the first-term congressman from New York said he would not resign even as a renewed effort to expel him from the House of Representatives gained steam.

Santos, 35, previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges of laundering campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and charging the credit cards of donors without permission, among other campaign finance violations.

The House Ethics Committee’s investigative report, released barely an hour before Santos made his announcement, identified further questionable financial activity by the congressman, prompting more of his fellow Republicans to urge expulsion.

Two of his former aides already have pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.

BOTOX, HERMES AND ONLYFANS

The committee’s report found that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

Santos charged almost $4,000 for spa treatments, including Botox, to his congressional campaign account, according to the report. He also spent more than $4,000 of campaign money at the retail store Hermes and made “smaller purchases” from Sephora, a makeup store, and OnlyFans, an online platform known for sexual content, the report found.

He also had his campaign pay more than $3,300 for an Airbnb in the exclusive Hamptons area of Long Island in July 2022, at a time when he had no recorded campaign events, it found.

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