Rep. George Santos’ Communications Director Resigns After Criticizing Troubled Congressman

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
May 18, 2023Politics
Rep. George Santos’ Communications Director Resigns After Criticizing Troubled Congressman
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) leaves the Capitol Hill Club as members of the press follow him in Washington, on Jan. 31, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Naysa Woomer, the communications director for Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), has resigned amid the congressman’s rising legal troubles. Woomer tendered her resignation shortly after an audio recording was published in which she appeared to express support for Santos’ removal from office.

In a resignation letter that she shared with Scripps News on Wednesday, Woomer said, “With respect for my colleagues, the people of New York, and most importantly, myself, I am honored to tender my resignation.”

Appearing to direct criticism at Santos in her letter, Woomer wrote, “Unfortunately, you never took one point of professional advice given.”

Santos’ office confirmed Woomer’s resignation in an emailed statement to NTD News. The congressman’s office provided no additional details about her resignation letter.

“Yesterday, our Communications Director, Naysa Woomer, tendered her resignation,” his office said. “Naysa served this office and the constituents of New York’s Third Congressional District for the past five months. We appreciate and thank her for her diligent service and wish her nothing but the best.”

Woomer submitted her resignation letter a week after Santos was arraigned in a New York federal court on a 13-count indictment alleging he defrauded donors, misused campaign funds, lied to Congress on his campaign finance disclosures, and took unemployment benefits for which he did not qualify.

Santos is ‘Not a Good Person’: Audio Recording

On Wednesday, undercover investigative reporting organization O’Keefe Media Group (OMG) shared an audio recording purporting to show Woomer speaking with an undercover reporter. The undercover reporter told Woomer, “I kind of feel bad for you right? He [George Santos] can’t get kicked out …”

“I actually hope he does,” Woomer replied.

“Oh, you hope he does?” the undercover reporter continued.

“Yes I do,” she said.

“Why, is he a bad guy?” the reporter asked.

“13 counts. Money laundering, fraud. Yeah. He’s not a good person. Sorry,” she said.

It’s unclear what role the release of this audio recording played in Woomer’s resignation decision.

Santos’ office did not provide any additional comment about the OMG audio recording.

Woomer had spoken out about another Santos staffer last week. On May 12, the Daily Beast reported that Santos’ director of operations, Vish Burra, would be disciplined for intimidating comments he allegedly made toward a reporter.

“This kind of behavior from anyone is unacceptable, much less from a congressional staffer,” Woomer told The Daily Beast on Friday. “Threats of violence of any kind will not be condoned. The tweets have been deleted and disciplinary action will be taken.”

Congressman’s Criminal Charges

The indictment (pdf) against Santos alleges he deceived his supporters into donating to a company under the guise that the funds would be used to support his 2022 congressional campaign. Prosecutors say Santos instead moved money from this campaign fund over to his personal bank accounts and allegedly then used much of that money for personal expenses, including purchasing designer clothing and paying off debts.

The complaint further alleges Santos obtained unemployment insurance through the New York State Department of Labor by falsely claiming to have been unemployed in March 2020. Santos allegedly received $24,000 in unemployment benefits through April 2021.

The complaint also alleges Santos made false statements to Congress by providing incorrect information about his income and assets during his 2020 and 2022 congressional campaigns. In Santos’s 2020 campaign, he allegedly overstated his income from one company and altogether failed to report his salary from another investment firm. Santos claimed he received about $55,000 in income from a single company, when in fact he received $25,403 from one company and $27,555 from a second, for a total of $52,958 between the two income sources.

In his 2022 campaign filings, Santos allegedly claimed he was making $750,000 in earned income through a company he owned, and had between $1 million and $5 million in unearned dividends through that same company, along with up to $5 million more in a savings account. Prosecutors say Santos actually received about $28,107 from an investment firm and $20,304 in unemployment benefits during this time period, “both of which he failed to truthfully report as required.”

Santos has faced pressure to resign over the charges.

This week, Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution to expel Santos from Congress over his alleged crimes. The Republican majority instead voted to refer the issue to the House Ethics Committee for further consideration, essentially deferring a decision on the issue.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) have both indicated they would not call for Santos’ resignation before the outcome of his court case, sticking with a precedent that has held for other sitting members of Congress.

“Fortunately, justice is blind in our country, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Santos told Punchbowl’s Mica Soellner after lawmakers held off on voting for his expulsion on Wednesday. “Regrettably so[,] Rep. Garcia and the Democrats are playing the roles of bias[ed] judge and jury. Expelling me is silencing 145k+ voters who sent me here to represent them and taking the voice away from 700k people.”