By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com
What will happen to North Hempstead’s cherished Project Independence in the absence of a Congressman who can effectively bring funding to the district, as Tom Suozzi did? Nina Gordon asked North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena at the Town Board meeting. DeSena curtly replied, “We will do everything possible.”And what will happen if there is a disaster and we need federal assistance, another constituent wondered.
“We’ll work as hard as we can.”
Vasu Krishnamurthy of Manhasset, wondered about the many areas of federal support town relies on – infrastructure, affordable housing, emergency management, senior services. “George Santos is completely useless. Isolated. We cannot rely on him for any services. So what is the town’s plan to make sure we continue to obtain federal resources for our residents??”
Desena;”We will advocate as best we can – rely on other Long Island Congressmembers and Senators.
What about constituent problems with Social Security, Medicare, passport that require a Congressmember? And what about federal aid to our public schools, to relieve the burden of high property taxes?
“We’ll do the best we can.”
He’s become the butt of jokes and made the 700,000 residents of New York’s 3rd Congressional district a laughingstock throughout the nation and the world, but the harm the fabulist fraudster George Santos is doing to the district – and Congress – is real, and is serious.
Not counting the millions of dollars that will come to our area as part of the Infrastructure, Inflation Reduction, and other legislation, funding specific to our area that a competent, respected, effective Congressman like Tom Suozzi secured includes: $40 million for Long Island Sound, $18 million for the Helen Keller National Institute; millions in community funded projects including Glen Cove Hospital Geriatric Center of Excellence, Little Neck Bay Stormwater Management, North Short Shellfish Seeding, Glen Cove’s Nancy Court Pump Station Rehabilitation, SUNY Maritime wind energy training program, new roof for Sid Jacobson JCC, Main Street flooding in Northport, Asharoken flood abatement, Duck Pond Road water infrastructure project, renovation of the SNAP, Queens senior center, Center for the Women of New York workforce development proposal, cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, NYC Office of Emergency Management, and the list goes on and on.
And what about funding for projects the town insists it can’t afford – like the cat shelter than advocates have been clamoring for, for years. And the Stepping Stones Lighthouse, which, despite being its steward and having $500,000 in grants, this Town administration seems content to allow to crumble into the Sound.
“He’s not just sitting here, he’s collecting six-figure salary,” Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey remarked. “I’ve just met with a school district in panic over losing federal aid.”
“We’ll do the best we can,” DeSena repeated.
And how did you come to endorse George Santos, and call him a friend, when red flags about his background had already been raised? DeSena replied, “I was duped, just like you.”
Peter Fishkind, among others, pushed back on that. Chiding DeSena, who used to be an attorney an attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, he questioned, “Were you aware his last job was at a Ponzi scheme [shut down by the SEC]?”
“I was not aware of that,” DeSena replied.
In fact, the New York Times published a report that documented how well-connected Republicans, including New York’s Elise Stefanik, were alerted to Santos’ fabrications as early as the 2020 campaign and again in early 2021, before the primary. To the extent they were aware of the fraud, they are co-conspirators in the crime of defrauding the United States and the 3rd District constituents. (See: Santos’s Lies Were Known to Some Well-Connected Republicans)
“It is my moral obligation as citizen to speak out and push for concerted action until Santos no longer is our Congressional representative,” Kimberly Keiserman, Port Washington, said. “It is difficult to overstate the difficulty of the crisis Santos created for our district. We are represented by a liar, a fraud, a conman, which means we aren’t represented at all. Santos will spend every day in Congress dealing with barrage of embarrassing revelations and defending himself against multiple investigations, he was one of the extremists at the Ellipse on January 6, attended far right gala with neo-Nazis last month, is widely viewed as a national security threat, and is a pariah to decent members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. There is no scenario he can be an effective legislator or provider of constituent services for district.
“It is important to acknowledge this crisis didn’t just happen, but by decisions of local party leaders who nominated, endorsed, promoted, and campaigned for this man, despite huge red flags – a Ponzi scheme, shady finances, extremism. Supervisor DeSena you are one of the local leaders who endorsed Santos – yours was one of most public, enthusiastic he received. I ask if you will take two actions to address this crisis: Commit to providing people of district with a full explanation of your decision to endorse, and call on Republican members of New York’s Congressional delegation to introduce a resolution to expel from Congress?” she said to applause.
That is now the focus of constituents, who have switched gears from demanding the impotent House Ethics Committee investigate Santos, to demanding Speaker Kevin McCarthy hold a vote to expel Santos from Congress. Go to: www.whoisgeorgesantos.com. To volunteer go to: https://bit.ly/JanVolSantosForm
McCarthy has been careful to bolster Santos, especially because Santos provided the key vote to fulfill his ambition to become Speaker, and has dismissed every allegation, even that a Santos fundraiser impersonated McCarthy’s own aide to stir up donations, with the claim that the investigations have to play out, that everyone deserves due process – expecting the process to last through a two-year Congressional term (just look at the January 6 prosecutions).
McCarthy – who admits to having some inkling of Santos’ fabrications before the election (especially since a Santos fundraiser impersonated McCarthy’s chief of staff) – says it is up to the NY 3 constituents to remove Santos (that is, in 2024), and the local Republicans, who fear the stain of Santos tainting their own elections and fundraising, claim they want Santos to resign but say their hands are tied, because it is up to Congress to vote to expel Santos, and Congress says they can’t remove him until and unless he is successfully prosecuted – something, judging by the snail’s pace of January 6 prosecutions, can go beyond the 2024 election.
And in a big FU to the district, the nation, and the institution, McCarthy anointed Santos with a varnish of credibility by appointing Santos to two committees: the Small Business committee (because he’s such a genius at “investing in himself” to go from $55,000 to millions of dollars overnight) and the Committee on Space, Science and Technology (where he can do Trump’s bidding and stick it to social media giants, vote to rescind funding for research and development, for renewable energy). In either case, Santos is vulnerable to bribery (he’ll do anything for money, and now he has an unlimited piggy bank from donors anxious for him to do their bidding), blackmail and extortion (was he really born in the United States? Were his parents legal immigrants?).
Meanwhile, grassroots activists groups have emerged, such as Concerned Citizens of NY Congressional District 3, circulating petitions. They have gone beyond demanding an investigation, to demanding McCarthy hold a vote to expel him.
And now that he is on the Small Business Committee, they may also organize every Chamber of Commerce in the country to lobby for Santos to be removed from the committee and from Congress.
Also, Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, who was one of the first to demand the U.S. Attorney investigate Santos’ fraudulent campaign finances and disclosures, is now calling for the Department of Homeland Security to revoke Santos’ passport, deeming Santos a high-profile “flight risk”.
“While local, state, and federal prosecutors approach potential indictments against George Santos, international authorities in Brazil have also reopened his criminal case. Given Mr. Santos potentially faces years in prison, there is significant concern that he may eventually seek safe harbor within a country lacking an extradition treaty with the U.S.,” Lazafan stated.
Here’s another thought: Since the criminal investigations by the US Attorney, New York State Attorney General, Nassau County and Queens district attorneys and FEC are unlikely to bear fruit before the 2024 election, constituents should file a class action suit for the harm caused by being robbed of federal dollars and our fair representation, and theft of services.
US Congressman Richie Torres, who has introduced the SANTOS Act, which would hold candidates liable for lying about their background and has urged the FEC to investigate Santos’ tangled web of potentially illegal campaign finance, has acknowledged that Santos, who is now earning nearly $200,000 – the most in his life – is unlikely to be shamed or humiliated into resigning — if anything, he thinks being in Congress cocoons him, while giving him access to a bottomless piggybank of favor-seekers.
“There are 535 electeds in Congress. Of the 535, no one poses a greater threat to the integrity of Congress as institution than Santos,” Torres said during a press conference in Great Neck with Concerned Citizens. “Concerned Citizens are standing up for what is right.”
Torres suggested that the best Santos — and NY3 constituents — could hope for was to make a deal with the U.S. Attorney in exchange for resigning.
NY3 Constituents Protest at George Santos’ Queens Office Demanding He Resign; Call for Investigation, Special Election
NY 3rd Constituents Rally to Demand Disgraced Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos Resign
Constituents Call for Federal Investigation into Crimes Arising from George Santos Campaign
Viewpoint: Who owns George Santos? That is the question
© 2023 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email email@example.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin
Comments are closed on this story.