Two Democrats Ask to Deny Santos Classified Information

January 26, 2023

Two House Democrats on Wednesday called on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to deny Rep. George Santos (R-NY) access to classified information.

New York Reps. Gregory Meeks, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Joe Morelle issued a letter to McCarthy, saying they had “serious concerns,” noting that Santos is under investigation by the Nassau County District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General’s office, and the federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York over his “myriad deceptive actions from his personal and professional life which he used to propel himself into a position of influence and short-lived financial prosperity.”

The lawmakers further note that Brazilian law enforcement authorities announced their intent to revive a 2008 court case in which Santos “reportedly used a false name to defraud a small business of nearly a thousand dollars’ worth of products.”

“Members are not mandated to have security clearances nor sign a nondisclosure agreement,” the letter goes on, “however, that does not entitle them to unlimited access to classified information.”

Speaker McCarthy, after disclosing last week that he’d “always had a few questions” about Santos’ resumé, awarded him two committee assignments, Small Business and Space & Technology.

Santos, who has admitted to fabricating parts of his professional background, is also the target of complaints to the Federal Elections Commission over his campaign spending and the House Ethics Committee regarding his financial disclosure filings.

One of Santos’ major supporters is Andrew Intrater, who, along with his apparent domestic partner, donated a combined $34,500 to Santos’ campaign, according to reports. Intrater is the cousin of Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch who was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 and again this past year shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

“The numerous concerning allegations about [Santos’] behavior over decades put his character into question, and suggest he cannot be trusted with confidential and classified information that could threaten the United States’ national security,” Meeks and Morelle wrote in their letter.

As part of their request for McCarthy to restrict Santos’ access to classified information, Meeks and Morelle said he should be prevented from attending classified briefings and have his access to sensitive materials through committee assignments limited.

After leaders of New York’s Nassau County Republican Party called on Santos to resign earlier this month, McCarthy told reporters, “I try to stick by the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics [Committee], let him move through that.”

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