U.S. House Ethics panel has not yet launched probe of Rep. Santos -McCarthy aide

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative George Santos is facing ethics complaints from fellow members of Congress, but the House Ethics Committee has not yet been organized for the next two years and thus cannot launch any potential investigation, an aide to Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday.

"There’s no investigation, as the Ethics Committee hasn’t organized yet. But it has received complaints," the spokesman said of the situation surrounding Santos, who has admitted he fabricated much of his resume.

Earlier in the day, McCarthy, asked by CNN if the freshman lawmaker is under investigation by the panel, McCarthy said, "Yes."

"Ethics is moving through, and if Ethics finds something, we’ll take action," McCarthy told the cable news outlet.

Later, McCarthy said he meant to say that Santos was the subject of Ethics Committee complaints. "There are questions. I expect them to get answered," he said when asked if he expected the panel to investigate Santos.

Santos apologized for "embellishing" his resume but has rebuffed calls for his resignation from constituents and fellow New York state Republicans, saying he would vacate his seat only if he loses the next election, in 2024.

Last week, McCarthy said Santos had asked if he could recuse himself from his committee assignments while he works to clear up an ethics cloud.

Among other claims, Santos said he had degrees from New York University and Baruch College, despite neither institution having any record of him attending. He claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, which was also untrue.

He said falsely that he was Jewish and that his grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two, and he failed to disclose that he was married to a woman for several years ending in 2019.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Richard Cowan; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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