Reports: Santos charging supporters to attend swearing-in

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — The hits just keep on coming for New York Rep.-elect George Santos.

The disgraced congressman-elect who has admitted to lying about having a college degree, Jewish ancestry and a Wall Street pedigree, could be sworn in as a member of Congress in the coming days. Now, an invitation has reportedly been sent out to his supporters offering a trip to come see his scheduled swearing-in for a price of either $100 or $500 as a V.I.P.

“It seems the smart thing to do would have been to get sworn in as under the radar as possible, quietly get to work. Apparently, that would not be the George Santos the country has gotten to not really know,” NewsNation host Dan Abrams said Tuesday.

The $500 V.I.P. option reportedly includes a roundtrip bus ride from New York to D.C., a luncheon, attending the swearing-in ceremony and a “Team Santos tour” of the Capitol grounds. But is there an issue with the offer?

A Nov. 29 congressional memo to all members and members-elect from the House Ethics Committee covers the topic.

“You may wish to host a reception or similar event for your constituents in connection with your swearing-in. You may use your principal campaign committee funds to pay the costs of such a reception, even if the reception is held in your office or another House room. However, swearing-in events held in House rooms or district offices may not be campaign or political in nature. A swearing-in event would likely be campaign or political if, for example, the list of invitees were limited to only campaign contributors,” the memo reads.

The memo also includes the following: “You may not allow a lobbying firm or other private entity to pay the costs of a reception or other event hosted by you in connection with your swearing-in. Accepting private subsidy of your official events is an impermissible gift under the House Gift Rule.”

The Santos invitation comes as Long Island prosecutors have launched an investigation into him while other questions about his background have gone unanswered. Brazilian authorities also announced plans to revive a 2008 check fraud case against Santos.

Will people take Santos up on his invitation? Newsday columnist Mark Chiusano, who has been closely watching events surrounding Santos, appeared Tuesday on “Dan Abrams Live” to provide his insight.

“With this invitation, it’s unclear if it has taken place or if it will take place at all. I spoke to one Republican insider in D.C. today. He said it’s very unlikely anyone will want to be associated with Santos given the revelations so far,” Chiusano said.

Video from the House chamber Tuesday showed lawmakers socializing, while Santos seemed to be sitting alone.

The House not reaching an agreement on a speaker places the swearing in of new members of Congress at a standstill. If Santos assumes office, reports say it’s possible that he could face investigations by the House Ethics Committee or the Justice Department.  

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