Reported 2017 charge makes George Santos’ scandal even worse

It’s tempting to think Rep. George Santos’ multifaceted scandal couldn’t possibly get worse. The New York Republican, one month into his congressional career, is already a disgraced laughingstock, and observers would be forgiven for thinking he’s reached the bottom of a humiliating well.

But those assumptions are mistaken — because with this GOP congressman, there apparently is no bottom to the well. Politico published this report yesterday:

Rep. George Santos was charged with theft in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country in 2017 after a series of bad checks were written in his name to dog breeders, according to the court and a lawyer friend who helped him address the charge.

According to the reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, the theft charge was dismissed and his record ultimately expunged after Santos claimed someone had stolen his checkbook. Whether those claims were true is unclear.

Under the standards House GOP leaders used to take seriously, allegations like these would likely lead House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to encourage Santos to resign. But in 2023, the New York Republican apparently need not worry about pressure from party leaders.

That said, Santos’ pile of problems continues to grow larger.

  • A large group of constituents from his district showed up at Santos’ congressional office this week, urging him to quit.
  • Santos had a rather unpleasant exchange with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
  • Some House Democrats announced plans to try to expel Santos, saying the classified briefing the scandal-plagued congressman received this week was “the final straw.”
  • Santos told a conservative media outlet that he received words of encouragement from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema this week. The Arizona independent’s office said she never spoke to the congressman and his claim was yet another “lie.”

Note, each of these developments are from just the last few days. The list of related developments from the last few months is vastly longer.

Last month, it would’ve been easy for McCarthy and other GOP leaders to conclude that Santos is simply too radioactive for their imprimatur. They made the opposite decision, concluding that the New Yorker deserved to be seen as a Republican in good standing.

With each passing day, that decision becomes more difficult to defend.

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