Representative George Santos called on his supporters to donate to his 2024 reelection campaign just days after being arrested on charges that include money laundering and theft of public funds.
The New York Republican was hit with a 13-count indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday after facing months of criticism for falsehoods he spread during his 2022 campaign. Santos was arrested and arraigned before being released on a $500,000 bond and he’s restricted to travel only between New York and Washington, D.C., unless otherwise permitted in advance.
Santos, a freshman congressman whose district includes parts of Long Island and Queens, has faced escalating scrutiny during his brief time in office. Shortly after he was elected in November, numerous reports surfaced that said he fabricated parts of his biography, including his education, employment and ancestry. He initially referred to his lies as “embellishments.”
The Republican stepped down from his House committees and has also been facing mounting calls to resign from office in the wake of the indictment.
Santos has continued to maintain his innocence, vowing to defeat the litany of charges, which include: seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. He called himself the victim of a “witch hunt” during a press conference outside the courthouse on Wednesday, echoing his victimhood claim on Twitter that day.
“I’m going to fight my battle. I’m going to deliver. I’m going to fight the witch hunt. I am going to take care of clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that,” he said, also confirming to reporters that he still intends to run for reelection.
Newsweek has reached out via email to representatives of Santos.
Less than a week after U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement that Santos “used political contributions to line his pockets,” the embattled lawmaker is asking for campaign donations toward his 2024 reelection bid.
In a Monday evening Twitter post, Santos said support would “keep him fighting.”
“The time to stand up to the CCP & the Ayatollah is now! My record is 100% America First! Your support will keep me in the trenches fighting for our freedom. #StopTheCCP #freeMilesGuo,” he said in a tweet that included a link to his donation page.
GOP lawmakers have been distancing themselves from Santos amid his legal strife, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who said he would not support Santos in his reelection bid.