House Democrats Move to Force Vote on George Santos

May 17, 2023

House Democrats took steps Tuesday to force a vote on expelling legally embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY).

The vote is expected to be defeated in the GOP-majority House. However, it puts Republicans in the uncomfortable position of having to put each lawmaker’s position on Santos, who’s been indicted on 13 criminal counts in federal court, on the record. 

A week ago, Santos pleaded not guilty in the Eastern District Court of New York to seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. 

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) introduced a resolution to expel Santos back in February. On Tuesday he brought the measure to the House floor under a process that gives lawmakers until Thursday to discharge it. 

“I wanted him to resign. We gave him plenty of time to do it,” Garcia said this week. “His other Republican freshmen also want him to resign and it’s time for him to go.”

Republican leaders, however, have said Santos deserves to have his day in court before Congress decides his fate in the chamber.

It’s unlikely House Republicans would allow a vote on Garcia’s resolution. Their other options are to table the vote or to go the preferred route of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee for consideration. 

In March, the Ethics Committee launched its own investigation into alleged misconduct by Santos. A special legislative subcommittee is looking into whether he may have “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”

The House has only voted twice to expel a lawmaker in recent decades. The move requires a two-thirds majority approval.

Santos filed for reelection in 2024 on March 14.

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