George Santos
George SantosReuters

Embattled Rep. George Santos said on Thursday he will not seek reelection in 2024 after the House Ethics Committee released a scathing report that concluded there is “substantial evidence” the New York Republican “violated federal criminal laws,” including using campaign funds for personal purposes and filing false campaign reports, NBC News reports.

"I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed. I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time," Santos said in a statement to X.

In its wide-ranging 56-page report, the Ethics subcommittee tasked with investigating Santos found "a complex web of unlawful activity involving Representative Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances. Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit."

"He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit. He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign—and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported 'repayments' of those fictitious loans," the report said.

If further stated that Santos "used his connections to high-value donors and other political campaigns" to enrich himself, the report contends. "And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience," it said.

In addition, the report says that Santos was “frequently in debt, had an abysmal credit score, and relied on an ever-growing wallet of high-interest credit cards to fund his luxury spending habits." He also made large cash deposits that he has not accounted for and made nearly a quarter million dollars in cash withdrawals for unknown purposes, the report alleges.

The Ethics Committee said it is referring its findings, including "uncharged" conduct, to the Justice Department.

Santos already faces a 13-count federal indictment centered on charges of money laundering and lying to Congress in an earlier financial disclosure. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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

Santos’ announcement on Thursday marks a change of heart, as he previously insisted he wouldn't drop his reelection bid and rejecting calls to resign.

Santos has also 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.