Our laws protect the likes of George Santos

Should lying be illegal? Seems deliberately deceiving the public for political or financial gain should have consequences.



January 30, 2023 - 3:19 PM

U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., waits for the start of the 118th Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Santos is facing scrutiny for lies he told about his personal and professional background during his campaign. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Long before his own #MeToo demise as a U.S. senator, satirst Al Franken wrote a shocking investigative exposé of politicians and pundits who — prepare yourself — don’t always tell the truth. The subtly titled book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” caused upheaval in Washington and led to a bipartisan national shakeup in politics. Politicians forever ended the practice of lying.

Oops. Correction: It actually got worse than ever, including the election of a president who reportedly lied more than 30,000 times in his single term.

Lying is not technically against the law, but it might be time for greater legislative clarity on the matter of deliberately deceiving the public for political or financial gain. Kansas City’s former communications director, Chris Hernandez, is suing his ex-employers, saying they demoted him when he refused to lie on behalf of City Manager Brian Platt. The city, which disputes the accusation, is arguing in court that, even if officials did lie, deliberately misleading the public isn’t illegal.

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