GOP Rep. George Santos has been charged by the Justice Department

FAN Editor

Representative George Santos, a Republican from New York, arrives for a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., has been criminally charged by the Department of Justice, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The nature of the federal charges against the freshman congressman, who has admitted to lying about his background, was not immediately known. Santos is set to appear in a Long Island, New York, federal court Wednesday, sources told NBC.

Santos’ lawyer and spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment.

News of the charges came just weeks after Santos announced his 2024 reelection campaign.

Santos has been under scrutiny for several scandals that have defined his brief time in Congress.

Before being sworn into office, Santos admitted that he had lied about his education credentials and his work experience. He denied committing any crimes. But he is reportedly under multiple investigations as authorities at numerous levels of government probe his campaign finances and other topics.

Rep. Mike Lawler, a fellow GOP freshman from New York, gave NBC a one-word reaction to the reported charges against Santos: “Resign.”

Lawler is the latest Republican to call for Santos’ resignation. But Santos has so far rebuffed his critics, saying only the voters of his district should decide whether he stays in Congress or not. Some polls have found that voters in Santos’ district view him overwhelmingly unfavorably across party lines.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has a very tight majority and can’t afford to lose more than a handful of votes, has not joined his colleagues’ calls for Santos to step down.

Asked about Santos’ legal trouble Tuesday, McCarthy said, “I’ll look at the charges.”

A House ethics panel in March appointed a subcommittee to investigate potential unlawful activity by Santos’ congressional campaign. The subcommittee is also looking into an allegation of sexual harassment made earlier this year by Derek Myers, a journalist who says Santos groped him in his office while the two men were alone going through constituent mail. Santos has denied the allegation.

CNN first reported the charges earlier Tuesday afternoon.

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