George Santos: A con man in congress

Claire Ireland, Senior editor

Elected in November of 2022, George Santos is the current congressional representative for New York’s 3rd District. As a freshman member of Congress, Santos has been unexpectedly found in the limelight for one main reason: a vast majority of his campaign and self-proclaimed past was a lie. 

Notably, a significant portion of Santos’s resume is proven to be fabricated. On his resume (obtained by the New York Times), it was falsely stated that he attended Baruch College (obtained a 3.89 GPA) and received an MBA from NYU when in reality he has a high school equivalency diploma. Santos also claimed that he had worked for CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs for a period of time. When this information was fact-checked, the companies disclosed that they had never been affiliated with Santos. 


Santos similarly has provided many falsehoods concerning his identity, especially in connection with his family. He has wrongly claimed that his mother was both a 9/11 victim and survivor at different points (refuted by the fact that his mother was not in the United States at that time) and that he had family members who were Holocaust survivors. Further, George Santos lied about being Jewish, as he simultaneously is a Catholic. Santos admitted to this in an interview with the New York Post stating  “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’” This was most likely motivated by the large Jewish population in the 3rd district of New York where Santos was running.  “Lying about your background to try to appeal to a certain constituency…how can anyone trust you about anything?” said Jessica Kapadia, Chair of the History and Social Science Department and Jewish Student Union faculty advisor. 

George Santos has also found himself entangled in many financial frauds. Various GoFundMe scams have been connected to him where he utilized known aliases Anthony Devolder and Anthony Zabrovsky (the latter in an effort to pander to Jewish individuals according to Santos’s former roommate). The scams were in conjunction with a “philanthropic” organization, Friends of Pets United. Additionally, he pleaded guilty to stealing a checkbook in Brazil, and managed to evade going to court as he could not be located until recently. With questionable sources of his campaign funds and a connection with a company Harbor City Capital, a known Ponzi Scheme, the list of  Santos’s financial missteps go on. 

Santos’s lies were subsisted by a consistent lack of care when it came to checking into his credentials. Opponents of Santos in the 2020 representative election opted to avoid opposition research, as they felt the expense was not necessary. Similarly, the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) neglected to run a background check on any of Santos’s claims. The Democratic Party even shirked the responsibility they have to check on various parts of political figures’ backgrounds including the education background of Santos, stating that universities and private institutions were more likely to share information with journalists than political parties. 

This lack of fact checking, while not necessarily required but typically underwent through election processes, has led to the simple fact that George Santos is a member of Congress despite his lies. With more information coming to light,  representatives such as Daniel Goldman (D, NY 10th District )are filing formal ethics complaints against Santos. Despite this, House Speaker McCarthy is standing by Santos, stating that he had been fairly elected and his lies were not far off from that of other House members who also had embellished their resumes. This solidarity has been emphasized by Santos’s assignment to two House Committees: the Small Business Committee  and Science Space and Technology Committee.

Photo courtesy of @santos4_congress

Santos’s ability to be fairly elected to Congress stresses the fact that voter’s can not depend on the government to vet candidates. Because of this it is becoming more and more necessary for the general public to vet who they vote for. Educating oneself about the prospective candidates within your voting district, even down to the mayoral level, is the best way to ensure avoiding electing someone who is unqualified. Kapadia elaborated: “You have a responsibility as a citizen using your voice to vote, to do your own research.”