NEW YORK (AP) — A person who briefly labored as an aide to U.S. Rep. George Santos says he acquired his job after sending a collection of funds to one of many Republican’s prime deputies.
Derek Myers, 31, advised employees of the Home’s ethics subcommittee throughout an interview Wednesday that whereas he was making an attempt to get a job in Santos’ congressional workplace in late January, he despatched not less than seven $150 funds to Santos’ director of operations, Vish Burra.
Myers shared particulars concerning the funds, together with receipts and textual content messages, with The Related Press. His account of how Burra helped him get employed hasn’t beforehand been reported and raises questions on potential moral improprieties round Santos.
Myers stated he started sending the cash unsolicited as a result of he believed Burra, a right-wing political operative, wasn’t getting paid by the Home on the time and couldn’t afford meals. However he stated he additionally hoped the funds may assist him safe a job.
“Burra was a strong individual,” Myers advised the AP. “I wished him to advocate on my behalf.”
Burra, a dependable presence beside Santos who helped escort his boss away from journalists after his arraignment in federal courtroom final month, declined to remark.
Home investigators questioned Myers concerning the funds, documented in receipts and textual content messages, as a part of a probe into office sexual harassment allegations Myers made after being dismissed from Santos’ employees in February.
Myers, a former journalist, acquired a job provide to be a legislative assistant in late January, however lasted lower than per week within the place. On the time, Santos advised Myers he was involved by the findings of a background examine, which confirmed Myers had been charged with wiretapping in Ohio after publishing a recording of a trial.
In a February letter despatched to the Home Committee on Ethics, Myers stated he was ousted after he spurned Santos’ sexual advances, accusing the congressman of working his hand alongside his interior leg and touching his groin whereas they had been alone within the workplace.
Santos has denied the allegation, describing it as “comical.”
The Home Ethics Committee is investigating a number of allegations of improper conduct by Santos, who has admitted to fabricating a lot of his biography and is at present going through federal prices that embody fraud and cash laundering.
Final month, Republicans within the Home sidestepped a vote to expel Santos, referring the matter to the ethics panel. The committee has not divulged whom it’s interviewing or when a call may be reached.
On Wednesday, members of the committee spent two hours questioning Myers about his sexual harassment allegations, his relationship with Burra, and whether or not he’d witnessed any unlawful conduct throughout his brief stint within the workplace.
He described discovering Burra on-line, then pushing for a job at Santos’s workplace out of an earnest need to assist the scandal-scarred consultant.
Myers additionally supplied documentation, together with emails and textual content messages with staffers and receipts exhibiting his Venmo funds to Burra.
In his interview, Myers stated Burra did not ask him for cash, however as soon as requested that he “ship extra pizza,” which he took to be a reference to the pizza emoji they’d used beforehand in Venmo topic strains.
The Home investigators requested Myers a couple of textual content alternate he had with Burra on Jan. 29, days after he’d been provided the job. In that alternate, Myers had requested Burra, “Did you get payroll but.”
“No. You did not have to try this man,” Burra replied, including later, “I am gonna pay you again for certain.”
Myers acknowledged throughout his interview with the Home investigators that he had secretly recorded not less than one dialog with Santos and later shared it with a journalist. He additionally stated he had gone to the FBI whereas nonetheless working for Santos, with the intention of presumably working as a confidential informant for legislation enforcement.
He stated he determined to talk out concerning the harassment incident after he was compelled to depart the job.