George Santos
George SantosReuters

First-time Republican Congressman George Santos will be investigated by the US House Ethics Committee over allegations that he lied extensively about his background and violated campaign finance laws, the committee said Thursday, according to the AFP news agency.

Santos has admitted fabricating much of his biography, including his real name, his religion (he falsely claimed to be Jewish), his schooling and his employment history when he ran last year for a House seat representing parts of Long Island, New York.

A New York prosecutor launched an investigation against Santos in late December after he admitted to "embellishing" his resume.

Santos has come under fire for falsely claiming to have Jewish heritage. The Forward had questioned a claim on Santos’ campaign website that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.”

In another story, the site noted that he had called himself a "proud American Jew" in a position paper that was shared with Jewish and pro-Israel leaders during his campaign.

Santos later maintained that he still identifies as “Jew-ish” despite reports showing that his grandparents were Catholics born in Brazil.

The Ethics Committee said in a statement on Thursday it will be examining possible violations of campaign laws, campaign finance rules and sexual misconduct on the part of Santos.

It was not clear what the bipartisan committee would do if it finds fault with Santos. It can recommend that the whole House of Representatives take action, including censuring or, in the extreme, expelling a member.

Santos has faced calls to resign by many of his constituents, and from some fellow Republicans as well as Democrats in Congress, but has refused.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, a Republican, said in January that Santos will be removed from Congress if found to have broken campaign finance laws.

Earlier this week, Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) called for Santos to be expelled from Congress.