NEW YORK (AP) — An individual who briefly labored as an aide to U.S. Rep. George Santos says he obtained his job after sending a set of funds to one in every of many Republican’s excessive deputies.
Derek Myers, 31, instructed workers of the Residence’s ethics subcommittee all through an interview Wednesday that whereas he was trying to get a job in Santos’ congressional office in late January, he despatched not lower than seven $150 funds to Santos’ director of operations, Vish Burra.
Myers shared particulars regarding the funds, along with receipts and textual content material messages, with The Associated Press. His account of how Burra helped him get employed hasn’t beforehand been reported and raises questions on potential ethical improprieties spherical Santos.
Myers talked about he began sending the money unsolicited on account of he believed Burra, a right-wing political operative, wasn’t getting paid by the Residence on the time and couldn’t afford meals. Nevertheless he talked about he moreover hoped the funds might help him secure a job.
“Burra was a powerful specific individual,” Myers instructed the AP. “I wanted him to advocate on my behalf.”
Burra, a reliable presence beside Santos who helped escort his boss away from journalists after his arraignment in federal courtroom ultimate month, declined to comment.
Residence investigators questioned Myers regarding the funds, documented in receipts and textual content material messages, as part of a probe into workplace sexual harassment allegations Myers made after being dismissed from Santos’ workers in February.
Myers, a former journalist, obtained a job provide to be a legislative assistant in late January, nevertheless lasted decrease than each week inside the place. On the time, Santos instructed Myers he was concerned by the findings of a background study, which confirmed Myers had been charged with wiretapping in Ohio after publishing a recording of a trial.
In a February letter despatched to the Residence Committee on Ethics, Myers talked about he was ousted after he spurned Santos’ sexual advances, accusing the congressman of working his hand alongside his inside leg and touching his groin whereas that they had been alone inside the office.
Santos has denied the allegation, describing it as “comical.”
The Residence Ethics Committee is investigating a variety of allegations of improper habits by Santos, who has admitted to fabricating lots of his biography and is presently going by way of federal bills that embody fraud and money laundering.
Remaining month, Republicans inside the Residence 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 name is maybe 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 or not he’d witnessed any illegal habits all through his transient stint inside the office.
He described discovering Burra on-line, then pushing for a job at Santos’s office out of an earnest want to help the scandal-scarred advisor.
Myers moreover provided documentation, along with emails and textual content material messages with staffers and receipts displaying his Venmo funds to Burra.
In his interview, Myers talked about Burra didn’t ask him for money, nevertheless as quickly as requested that he “ship further pizza,” which he took to be a reference to the pizza emoji they’d used beforehand in Venmo subject strains.
The Residence investigators requested Myers a number of textual content material 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 however.”
“No. You didn’t have to do this man,” Burra replied, together with later, “I’m gonna pay you once more for sure.”
Myers acknowledged all through his interview with the Residence investigators that he had secretly recorded not lower than one dialog with Santos and later shared it with a journalist. He moreover talked about he had gone to the FBI whereas nonetheless working for Santos, with the intention of presumably working as a confidential informant for laws enforcement.
He talked about he decided to speak out regarding the harassment incident after he was compelled to depart the job.