NEW YORK (AP) — A man who briefly labored as an aide to U.S. Rep. George Santos states he got his position following sending a collection of payments to a single of the Republican’s top deputies.
Derek Myers, 31, explained to personnel of the House’s ethics subcommittee for the duration of an job interview Wednesday that even though he was making an attempt to get a position in Santos’ congressional place of work in late January, he despatched at the very least 7 $150 payments to Santos’ director of operations, Vish Burra.
Myers shared details about the payments, which include receipts and text messages, with The Affiliated Press. His account of how Burra helped him get employed hasn’t previously been claimed and raises issues about prospective ethical improprieties around Santos.
Myers explained he started sending the funds unsolicited due to the fact he thought Burra, a proper-wing political operative, wasn’t getting paid out by the Property at the time and couldn’t afford to pay for foodstuff. But he mentioned he also hoped the payments could help him secure a work.
“Burra was a potent particular person,” Myers advised the AP. “I desired him to advocate on my behalf.”
Burra, a responsible existence beside Santos who helped escort his boss absent from journalists just after his arraignment in federal court final thirty day period, declined to remark.
Home investigators questioned Myers about the payments, documented in receipts and text messages, as part of a probe into office sexual harassment allegations Myers manufactured following being dismissed from Santos’ staff members in February.
Myers, a former journalist, acquired a task offer to be a legislative assistant in late January, but lasted a lot less than a 7 days in the placement. At the time, Santos told Myers he was involved by the conclusions of a background check, which showed Myers had been charged with wiretapping in Ohio after publishing a recording of a trial.
In a February letter despatched to the Dwelling Committee on Ethics, Myers stated he was ousted following he spurned Santos’ sexual improvements, accusing the congressman of running his hand together his inner leg and touching his groin even though they have been on your own in the business office.
Santos has denied the allegation, describing it as “comical.”
The House Ethics Committee is investigating numerous allegations of inappropriate conduct by Santos, who has admitted to fabricating a great deal of his biography and is at present facing federal charges that involve fraud and revenue laundering.
Last month, Republicans in the Residence sidestepped a vote to expel Santos, referring the make any difference to the ethics panel. The committee has not divulged whom it is interviewing or when a conclusion may well be reached.
On Wednesday, members of the committee used two hrs questioning Myers about his sexual harassment allegations, his romance with Burra, and whether he’d witnessed any unlawful conduct all through his small stint in the workplace.
He described obtaining Burra on the internet, then pushing for a work at Santos’s place of work out of an earnest want to assistance the scandal-scarred consultant.
Myers also provided documentation, which includes email messages and textual content messages with staffers and receipts demonstrating his Venmo payments to Burra.
In his job interview, Myers claimed Burra didn’t check with him for cash, but once requested that he “send far more pizza,” which he took to be a reference to the pizza emoji they’d applied previously in Venmo issue lines.
The Dwelling investigators questioned Myers about a textual content trade he experienced with Burra on Jan. 29, days soon after he’d been supplied the occupation. In that trade, Myers experienced asked Burra, “Did you get payroll yet.”
“No. You failed to have to do that person,” Burra replied, incorporating later on, “I’m gonna fork out you back for positive.”
Myers acknowledged through his interview with the Residence investigators that he had secretly recorded at the very least just one conversation with Santos and afterwards shared it with a journalist. He also mentioned he experienced long gone to the FBI while however doing work for Santos, with the intention of possibly working as a private informant for regulation enforcement.
He explained he resolved to talk out about the harassment incident right after he was pressured to leave the position.
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