George Santos denies sexual harassment allegations
Rep. George Santos on Monday denied allegations of sexual harassment and ethics violations made by a prospective staff member who volunteered briefly in his office.
Asked about a complaint filed with the House Ethics Committee by Derek J. Myers, Santos (R-Nassau/Queens), told reporters outside his congressional office that he "100%" denied the allegations.
"It's comical," Santos said. "Of course, I deny that."
In a letter Friday to Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Penn.), the panel's top Democrat, Myers said he was alone with Santos in his office on Jan. 25 — two days after he was brought on to answer phones, open mail and respond to constituents — when Santos harassed him.
“It is an unfortunate series of events, but the matter will hopefully be handled by the appropriate bodies and not litigated through the news media," Myers said Sunday in a statement to Newsday.
A spokeswoman for Wild confirmed receipt of the complaint on Monday, but declined to comment further.
Myers said in his letter that Santos asked him if he had a profile on Grindr, a popular gay dating app.
Myers also alleged Santos invited him to join him at a karaoke club that night and placed his hand on his inner thigh and groin.
Joseph Murray, an attorney for Santos, declined to comment on Sunday.
Myers also said he filed a report with U.S. Capitol Police. The agency did not return an email from Newsday seeking confirmation Monday.
Myers said in his statement to Newsday that his complaint provides an opportunity for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republicans to expel Santos.
“The Speaker was quoted in media in January saying if ethical violations were found to have been committed by Congressman Santos, then Santos would be expelled,” Myers wrote.
“All the previous allegations and ethical complaints filed against him by outside agencies and other members of Congress mostly pertain to his conduct prior to taking the oath and arguably can’t be used to expel," Myers said.
"The claims I have filed have occurred while he has held office,” Myers said.
A spokesman for McCarthy did not immediately return an email Monday seeking comment.
McCarthy has resisted calls from top New York Republicans to expel Santos, telling reporters the ethics investigation process must be allowed to play out.
Reps. Daniel Goldman (D-Brooklyn) and Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee last month, calling for an investigation into Santos’ financial disclosures.
The committee has not confirmed whether it is conducting a probe.
Myers filed his complaint a day after the online outlet Talking Points Memo posted a recording that Myers secretly taped and leaked to the outlet of a meeting between him, Santos and office Chief of Staff Charley Lovett.
In the meeting, which Myers said occurred Jan. 30, Santos and Lovett raised concerns about hiring Myers after learning he was facing felony wiretapping charges in Ohio for posting audio of court testimony on the website of a small news outlet he reportedly runs.
The judge in the case barred the news media from recording the testimony of the co-defendants in a murder trial.
Myers recently told the media outlet Poynter that an unnamed source provided him with the recording of the trial and he felt compelled to make it public.
Santos is heard on the recording telling Myers: “It’s bad enough that I have to answer for myself these days, I don’t want to have to answer, prospectively, for you.”
In the 25-minute recording, Myers repeatedly professes loyalty to Santos and his team, saying he would never record them.
Myers says if he were ever called to testify before a grand jury against Santos he would tell prosecutors they would need to “put me in jail, because I’m not saying a … word.”
“I will never lie to you guys. I have no reason to. But I will lie for you.” Myers says on the tape.
Santos responds: “You shouldn’t.”
Myers also told Talking Points Memo that he was drawn to the prospect of working for Santos in part because of the potential for a book or Hollywood project.
“There’s gonna be a book about it. There’s gonna be a movie about it,” Myers said.