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The George Santos scandal just landed in Kevin McCarthy’s lap

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Republican leaders in New York’s 3rd congressional district this week called for George Santos’ “immediate resignation,” announcing that “we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.” The New York State Conservative Party joined the effort. However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy laughably argues that Santos should stay because “the voters elected him to serve.” The point, of course, is that the voters elected Santos under spectacularly false pretenses.

It is hard to imagine a scenario in which McCarthy would entertain the idea of encouraging Santos to resign and let his slim Republican majority shrink any further. But what about setting the right precedent without turning against Santos? Presumably, McCarthy and the GOP would want to prevent potential Democratic candidates from lying their way to the House just like Santos did, right?

A new House bill offers the chance to accomplish just that. On Thursday, New York Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres and Dan Goldman introduced the Stopping Another Non-Truthful Officer Seeker Act. In case there was any doubt as to whom “another” refers to, the bill’s short title is, cleverly, the SANTOS Act.

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The SANTOS Act would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require candidates for the House and Senate to file more information about their educational background, military service, and employment history. Congressional candidates who knowingly provide false information would be subject to a $100,000 fine, a year in prison, or both under the new law.


Ironically, Santos himself would be unaffected by the passage of his eponymous act. The SANTOS Act makes clear it would take effect “with respect to elections held on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.” Although Santos inspired the act, it would broadly apply to congressional candidates from any party.

While this act might be a promising measure to prevent more fraudsters from securing spots in Congress without requiring anyone in Congress to take a side on Santos’ resignation, McCarthy won’t care. He wants nothing more than to move the spotlight away from Santos and focus on vindictive stunts such as investigating President Joe Biden for make-believe crimes and expunging Donald Trump’s impeachments, as he revealed to the press on Thursday. With each passing day, the contrast between Kevin McCarthy’s House and Nancy Pelosi’s House will becoming increasingly and disturbingly stark.

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