by Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com
About two dozen NY-03 constituents walked up to George Santos’ Douglaston, Queens office – still bearing the former Congressman Tom Suozzi’s name – hoping to be able to see him personally and hand him their petition that he resign for deceiving voters about his background, experience, finances. It is the recess, after all, when Congressmembers are in their home districts to meet with constituents.
But none of the constituents were allowed into the office to meet with him in person even though Santos was inside, according to Vish Burra, who described himself as Santos’ operations director but is more of a bouncer. Nor did Santos come out to meet his constituents.
Instead, Burra called the peaceful gathering a “mob” and said they were impeding access to the office, though no one other than these district residents were anywhere around.
“The Congressman is very busy. I can’t bring him out in front of a mob,” Burra said, and dismissed the thousands of signatures on multiple petitions as “fake constituents.”
About 10 New York City police were on hand, repeatedly pushing the group from one side of the sidewalk to another, finally corralling them behind a barrier.
This reporter was also refused entry to the office or the opportunity to ask Santos to comment on his constituents’ complaints.
The episode only served to validate the constituents’ complaints – they have no representation, no voice in Congress. Not only is their Congressman refusing to speak to them, but the rest of his colleagues in Congress are refusing to have anything to do with him. One might argue the situation violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.
Jody Kass Finkel of Concerned Citizens of NY-03, a nonpartisan group that was formed to force Santos from office, instead read the statement she would have delivered directly to Santos to Burra:
“You are a pariah in Long Island. Nobody wants to work with you. We are weakened in our ability to get resources.”
The gathering at Rep. Santos’s District Office in Queens followed last week’s visit to Washington, D.C. by more than 50 NY-03 constituents, many of whom traveled by bus for nearly 10 hours roundtrip to the Capitol, where they were joined by Democratic Congressmembers Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, but were thwarted in their attempt to see Speaker McCarthy. Two days after the visit, where Santos’s constituents called on Speaker McCarthy to oust Santos, several Democratic Congressmembers introduced a Resolution to expel George Santos from the House of Representatives. That Resolution has been referred to the House Ethics Committee.
They called on Speaker McCarthy to immediately move the Resolution to expel Rep. George Santos to the House Floor for a straight up or down vote.
“The residents of NY-03 will not sit back while that Resolution languishes in the Ethics Committee, which is just being constituted and has yet to hold its first meeting. Meanwhile, the residents of NY-03 are without meaningful representation and the country reels from Santos’s ongoing scandals,” declared Jody Kass Finkel, of Concerned Citizens of NY-03, which organized the action.
“We question the motives of the national GOP in allowing Santos to run, in seating him, and in not moving rapidly to oust him. The timeline shows that Speaker McCarthy and Rep. Stefanik knew a year before the election that Santos was a fraud, and had at least five months to replace him with a credible candidate. And they are still supporting him.”
“Furthermore, another line of inquiry has to be Santos’s Treasurer and business partner, Nancy Marks and her connection with other people with political ambitions, like Lee Zeldin,” as reported in Newsday and the New York Times. (See: Santos controversy: How Nancy Marks became a top GOP campaign consultant).
She charged that McCarthy and Republicans with being content to allow the corruption of government and asked, “How deep does the corruption go?”
“In addition to his serious legal and ethical irregularities, Santos brings a firehose of scandal wherever he goes – from the constant drip of new revelations of old scams – such as his theft of charity funds intended for a veteran’s sick dog, to cheating an Amish dog owner, to new bombshell stories about a staffer Santos hired who accuses him of sexual misconduct. All of this is on top of his insensitive and manipulative claims of being a descendant of Holocaust survivors, having employees that died at the Pulse nightclub and that his mom died as a result of 9/11. Jews, the LGBTQ community, and families of 9/11 victims are outraged that he used their pain for political gain. He is an embarrassment to the entire country and the world is aghast at this spectacle, as well.”
“Republicans now hold all four Congressional seats on Long Island. So it’s reasonable to be skeptical about their ability to get anything done for Long Island, while the Santos scandal is front and center. We are in need of federal resources for roads, bridges, parks, toxic waste cleanups, etc. At the moment, the Long Island delegation is associated with the Santos disaster. When they appear in public, all they are asked about is George Santos. They will be hamstrung in delivering for Long Island until he is gone.
“Let Santos know we will not allow fraud, corruption to be normalized…We are looking to the three Long Island Congressmen – who had a hand in giving McCarthy the speaker’s gavel – to help end this national nightmare.”
Jane Russell of Manhasset, said, “I came to see if the fraudster would have the guts to come out. He does not represent me. More than 78 prcent of constituents said he should resign… This wicked degenerate is now my representative. I’m horrified. He’s a pariah with no credibility… If Santos doesn’t resign, we call on McCarthy to hold a vote to expel.”
Kim Keiserman of Port Washington said, “McCarthy seems to think our district will accept two years of Santos… Like all Americans, we depend on our representative to fight for our interests, values, be a serious participant, dedicated to understanding our problems, and legislating solutions. Not one whose entire time is taken by embarrassing revelations and investigations… We deserve to be represented by someone of personal integrity, who we can trust to tell the truth about his background, experience, campaign finances, and decisions in Congress – not someone who entire life is a lie, a conman with zero credibility with colleagues, a national security threat, who probably will be convicted of several serious crimes. We are not willing to accept having no representative at all. McCarthy, it is time to listen to us, do your job, hold a vote to expel Santos.”
Casey Sabella, an organizer with Courage for America said that Santos is hoping to just sit tight “and we’ll shut up. But we know his lies, the crimes he committed – thank you local press. He can’t represent us. Hold a vote to expel.” Sabella has been organizing constituent petitions and rallies (go to www.whoisgeorgesantos.com).
She pointed to a new national drive launched by Concerned Citizens of NY-03 to have constituents across the country lobby their own Congressmember to get McCarthy to hold a vote to expel Santos (you also (in a humorous way) can see Santos’ lies, one by one.
Text SANTOS to 50409 to automatically send a letter to your representative. This is a Resistbot made by Concerned Citizens of NY-03.
In the last several weeks, at least 25 separate petitions, with hundreds of thousands of signatures, were initiated calling for his ouster. MoveOn delivered a petition to Santos’s District Office on February 1 which had over 100,000 signatures; the petition delivered last week in Washington had over 1,000 signatures from NY-03 residents; a Change.org petition had over 35,000 signatures. Today’s petition delivered to Rep. Santos is the second tranche of 1,000 signatures from NY-03 residents.
“People in NY-03 and across America are disgusted by Santos’s deceit,” Kass Finkel declared. “Each day that George Santos holds the honorable title of Congressman is an affront to the residents of NY-03, democracy and decency.”
Concerned Citizens of NY-03 is an ad hoc, nonpartisan group of constituents who have come together in their anger at George Santos’s deception with the sole purpose of having Santos removed from the U.S. House of Representatives.
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