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CBS News: George Santos' backers include a migrant smuggler, a big Trump donor and the cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch

"This member of Congress has flaunted campaign finance laws," Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause/New York said. "There is no respect for the rules or the voters." According to Lerner, the personal financial disclosures made by candidates are critical for voters to have at their disposal prior to casting their vote. She says  "porous" campaign finance laws and lack of enforcement from the FEC have allowed this particular situation to devolve.

Roll Call: Democrats ask ethics panel to probe Santos’ financial disclosures

“House Republicans’ proposal will handcuff the nonpartisan ethics office, making it more difficult to ensure there are consequences for breaking the rules,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, in a news release Monday evening after the House GOP approved its rules package. “As their first legislative act, Congressional Republicans have decided to significantly weaken the independent ethics office. Their actions are a complete failure of leadership.”

Roll Call: Advocacy groups denounce GOP proposals to ‘gut’ ethics office

“At first glance, it comes across as neutral, but it seems clear it hamstrings OCE,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause. “Without a full slate, then they can’t really take actions. Another provision says they have to make hiring decisions within the first 30 days, but they can’t do that without a full slate of board members.” 

CBS News: George Santos won a seat in Congress on a resume full of inconsistencies. Some supporters now want answers.

Ethics watchdogs are also monitoring developments. Susan Lerner, executive director for Common Cause New York, called on Santos to resign. Lerner told CBS News she had never seen an instance like this. "This is really, really breathtakingly shocking," Lerner said. "There have been instances where candidates have exaggerated their background…haven't seen anybody who's made up an entirely false life story." It's unclear whether House GOP leadership will urge any action. "There are always charlatans who will try and fool the system. And the question really is, can the system protect itself? And that's what we're going to see," Lerner said. "Can Congress set standards for who is appropriately a member of the House of Representatives or not?"

Wall Street Journal: George Santos Was Just Elected to Congress. He Faces Scrutiny Over His Résumé.

“When you have somebody who had almost no assets and now suddenly has millions—the question is, who does he owe allegiance to?” said Susan Lerner, executive director of the government-watchdog group Common Cause New York.

Insider: Top government ethics officer was late disclosing his personal finances on multiple occasions

"When the referees themselves don't follow the rules it sends a bad signal that the rules might not really matter," Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, told Insider. "People who are in charge of ethics enforcement should be the No. 1 champions of fully complying with the letter and spirit of the law and all relevant regulations."

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