▶ Watch Video: Rep. George Santos temporarily recuses himself from committee assignments
The FBI is investigating Rep. George Santos‘ alleged role in purporting to raise funds for a veteran’s dying dog through a pet charity, a representative for the veteran told CBS News on Wednesday.
A representative for Rich Osthoff, the veteran in question, told CBS News that Osthoff had been contacted by the FBI, and spoke to them on Wednesday. The representative disclosed he also spoke Wednesday with the FBI, and said they are going to question him at a later date.
Politico first reported the news.
Osthoff told CBS News last month that Santos helped him raise $3,000 for his dying dog through Santos’ pet charity. But Osthoff, who is disabled and was homeless, said he never got the money from Santos, and his dog died six months later.
Santos has denied the allegation.
U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) leaves the Capitol Hill Club as members of the press follow him on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC.
/ Getty Images
Santos, a Republican from the North Shore of Long Island, New York, was first elected to Congress in November, flipping what had been expected to be a blue district. However, before he was sworn in, he admitted to fabricating key parts of his biography, and is now under scrutiny by state and federal prosecutors. The Federal Election Commission is also investigating his campaign spending, and he is the subject of complaints to the House Ethics Committee over his financial disclosure forms.
On Tuesday, Santos said he had recused himself from serving on House committees as he faces growing calls to resign.
“This was a decision that I take very seriously. The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare,” Santos said Tuesday. “It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s 3rd Congressional District and providing federal level representation without distraction.”
A Newsday/Siena College poll published Tuesday found that 78% of his constituents said he should step aside, including 71% of Republicans. Of 653 registered voters polled, an overwhelming majority of his constituents, 83%, view him unfavorably, including 78% of GOP voters.
Rebecca Kaplan, Michael Kaplan and Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.