The U.S. House Ethics Committee has announced an investigation into Rep. George Santos, R-New York, over allegations of violations of ethics rules. The investigation comes after a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
The committee did not specify the nature of the alleged violation in its announcement, but Santos released a statement on Friday saying he is confident that the investigation will ultimately clear him of any wrongdoing.
“I have fully cooperated with the OCE and will continue to do so with the House Ethics Committee,” Santos said. “I believe that the facts will demonstrate that I have done nothing wrong and that this investigation will ultimately conclude without any finding of wrongdoing on my part.”
Santos, who was elected to Congress in 2022, represents New York’s Third Congressional District. He is one of the first Filipino-Americans to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Ethics Committee is made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans and has the power to investigate and discipline members of the House for violations of ethics rules. If the committee finds that a member has violated the rules, it can recommend punishments ranging from a reprimand to expulsion from Congress.
Santos’ case is not the first time that the committee has investigated a member of Congress. Last year, the committee investigated Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., over allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct and other unethical behavior. Gaetz denied the allegations and was not ultimately disciplined.
The OCE, which referred Santos’ case to the Ethics Committee, is an independent agency that investigates allegations of misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. The OCE was created in 2008 in response to a series of ethics scandals in Congress.
The Ethics Committee’s announcement of the investigation into Santos comes as House Democrats are pushing for a package of ethics reforms aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in Congress. The package includes provisions that would require members of Congress to disclose more information about their financial interests and prohibit members from serving on the boards of for-profit companies.
In a statement, committee chair Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said that the committee takes its responsibility to investigate ethics complaints seriously.
“The House Ethics Committee is committed to ensuring that all Members of the House of Representatives are held to the highest ethical standards,” Deutch said. “We take our responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct seriously and will continue to do so in a fair and thorough manner.”
It is unclear how long the investigation into Santos will take or what the potential consequences could be if the Ethics Committee finds that he violated ethics rules. However, the investigation is likely to generate significant attention in the coming weeks and months as Santos seeks to clear his name and defend his reputation.