Kevin McCarthy to grant George Santos committee assignments despite national security concerns
Speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced embattled U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who lied his way into office and just hours earlier was denounced and called on to resign by numerous local Republican Party and elected officials, will get committee assignments like every other member of the House of Representatives.
McCarthy, who very narrowly gained the Speaker’s gavel after 15 tries last week, told NBC News senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake that he “tries to stick to the constitution.”
The U.S. Constitution makes no mention of House committee assignments.
“The voters elected him to serve,” McCarthy, who only has a four-seat majority, added.
Haake adds that McCarthy “notes that Santos hasn’t been charged with a crime, and confirms Santos will receive committee assignments.”
Santos lied about nearly every aspect of his personal and professional life, and some say it’s hard to claim he was elected by voters who thought they were electing a very different person.
“Kevin McCarthy would like us to forget that a Santos staffer impersonated McCarthy’s own chief of staff, Dan Meyer, and raised money off that fraud,” adds MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin. “That sounds like straightforward wire fraud to me, and if Santos was in on that con, a conspiracy to commit wire fraud too.”
NBC News adds that McCarthy said “no” when asked if Santos would be seated on top committees, like the Intelligence Committee or Armed Services or Ways and Means.
But as a sitting U.S. Congressman, Santos would still have access to important and classified information.
“Members of all congressional committees — including the Transportation and Agriculture panels — have access to sensitive information to a certain degree. And any sitting member of Congress can attend ‘all member’ classified briefings on such topics as the war in Ukraine, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the COVID-19 pandemic,” NBC News reports.
“So even if Santos is not granted a seat on a national security panel like Intelligence or Armed Services or a so-called ‘A-committee’ like Appropriations, Ways and Means or Energy and Commerce, the freshman congressman would still be privy to certain sensitive information.”
This week Insider reported on a number of ethics complaints against Santos, noting that “Santos’ history and finances are also under investigation by prosecutors at the federal level, in New York state, and in Brazil.”
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