Rep. George Santos tells colleagues he won’t be on House committees

Washington- Embattled Republican Rep George Santos New York City will refuse to serve on House committees, he told his GOP colleagues Tuesday in a closed-door meeting, two Republican aides at the meeting confirmed to CBS News.

Santos was assigned to the House Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee earlier this month by House Republican leaders. His decision to give up seats on the two panels comes a day after Santos met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Capitol Hill, though McCarthy hasn’t disclosed what they discussed.

In the House Republican conference meeting, Santos apologized to his colleagues for being a distraction, the two sources told CBS News. GOP Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, a Republican conference chair and Santos’ supporter during his congressional campaign, told reporters after the meeting that he had “willingly removed” himself from House committees.

An aide to Santos said in a statement that he is “reserving his seats on assigned committees until he has been properly cleared of both the campaign and personal financial investigations.”

The Republican legislator, who represents New York’s 3rd congressional district and has admitted for manufacture key parts of his biography, is under scrutiny by state and federal prosecutors. He is also the subject of complaints to the Federal Election Commission on his campaign spending and the House Ethics Committee regarding the filing of its financial reporting reports.

Santos is facing calls for his resignation, including from fellow Republicans in New York’s congressional delegation, but he has rejected calls descend. McCarthy also declined to take any action against Santos, saying instead that his future in Congress will be determined by the voters in his district.

The speaker was asked about the decision to place Santos on a two-house panel in one interview with “Face the Nation” on Sunday, and said Santos, along with all other lawmakers elected to the House, “have the right to serve,” even in a commission.

McCarthy, on the other hand, yes blocked two House Democrats, Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee, which he has the power to do unilaterally. He also pledged to vote to bar Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, from serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, even though at least three GOP lawmakers oppose the move.

Among the questions about the background and finances of the campaign, a couple of Democrats from New York called McCarthy to prevent Santos from gaining access to classified information, saying he has “serious concerns” about the GOP lawmaker.

“The numerous troubling allegations about his behavior over decades question his character and suggest that he cannot be entrusted with confidential and classified information that could threaten the national security of the United States,” wrote Representatives Gregory Meeks and Joe Morelle in a letter.

Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report.

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