Incoming Republican Rep. George Santos Admits To Lying About Work, Education History

(Photo by WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican New York Rep.-elect George Santos admitted to fabricating details about his work and education history, a week after major media outlets began questioning key aspects of his biography.

Santos claimed during his successful campaign for New York’s 3rd District to be a successful Wall Street investor and nonprofit founder who graduated from Baruch College, a public university in New York City. The New York Times first reported that Santos did not work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, despite his claims, and that he did not graduate from Baruch College or found a tax-exempt animal rescue organization. Other outlets have raised questions about his family history.

“My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos told the New York Post. “This [controversy] will not deter me from having good legislative success. I will be effective. I will be good,” he added.

Santos described himself in campaign literature as a former employee of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Link Bridge Investors, and MetGlobal, as well as “one of the youngest vice presidents in the industry,” according to his website. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs denied to the New York Times that he was a current or former employee. The incoming congressman said in the interview that his company, Link Bridge, did business with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but that he was not directly employed by the major investment banks.

“I will be clearer about that. It was stated poorly,” Santos said. (RELATED: New York House Race Features Two Openly Gay Men, A First)

Press releases also claimed that Santos attended Baruch College and New York University, and that he holds finance and economics degrees. Baruch College told the New York Times that no one with Santos’ name or birthday graduated from the school in 2010, the year he claimed.

“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” Santos acknowledged. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”

Santos denied lying about his family history, although he acknowledged that some campaign claims were inaccurate. Although his campaign page asserts that his grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Europe during World War II, The Forward reported that they were born in Brazil. The outlet also reported that the congressman-elect does not have Jewish ancestry.

“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the NY Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.'”

New York state Attorney General Letitia James is investigating Santos in connection with his false claims, several news outlets reported. Santos denied any criminal misrepresentation, and is pledging to serve out his full term.

“I am not a criminal,” he said. “I intend to deliver on the promises I made during the campaign — fighting crime, fighting to lower inflation, improving education.”