In light of freshman Rep. George Santos’, R-N.Y., lies about his background, two New York Democrats introduced a bill on Thursday that would require future congressional candidates to file information about their education, military and education with the Federal Elections Commission.
Under the bill, any candidate who lies about their background could face a year in jail or a $100,000 fine.
Santos has admitted to a number of lies during his congressional campaign, including two colleges he claimed to have graduated from and having Holocaust-survivor grandparents, among other falsehoods.
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning,” Santos told the New York Post late last year. “I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume. I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
The bill, known as the Santos Act or the Stopping Another Non Truthful Office Seeker Act, was introduced by Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y.
“The web of lies George Santos used to defraud his voters is a threat to our free and fair elections, and we have an obligation to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Goldman said in a statement. “His entire candidacy for Congress was predicated on a campaign of disinformation designed to deceive the voters. Santos lied about his entire biography and resume, including religion, family history, education, and professional experience. I am proud to join my fellow New York Congressman Ritchie Torres to introduce this critical piece of legislation to safeguard the democratic process.”
Torres said in a statement that he was “appalled at the level to which George Santos has purposefully and continually lied to the American public about every facet of his professional and personal life.
He called Santos’ deception a “stain on our Democratic process and threatens to corrupt the very institution in which I am deeply humbled and proud to serve. We must work to ensure that our elected leaders are being truthful and transparent with voters, and I remain as committed as ever to doing just that.”
A large number of Democrats and even some Republicans have called on Santos to resign, although a special election loss in his district could further narrow Republicans’ small majority in the House of Representatives.
Santos has said he won’t resign.