House votes to expel George Santos

December 1, 2023

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted Friday to expel embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) following a scathing Ethics Committee report.

A two-thirds majority of at least 291 votes was required to oust Santos. The vote Friday was 311-114 in favor of expulsion.

After the vote, the House immediately moved on to another topic—honoring the memory of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who’d died earlier in the day at the age of 93.

The resolution to expel was introduced earlier this month by Ethics Chair Michael Guest (R-MS) was brought to the floor by Santos’ fellow New York Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito on Tuesday as a privileged resolution, meaning it had to be addressed within two days—by Thursday during which debate took place.

The resolution came on the heels of a 56-page Ethics Committee report  that details a “complex web of unlawful activity involving Representative Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances. Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

“He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit,” the report said.

For example, according to the subcommittee, Santos had a business that received $50,000 from donors that had been requested for political purposes, but the money was transferred to his personal account and spent on OnlyFans, Hermes, and Sephora.

Santos blasted the report, calling it “incomplete, irresponsible and littered with hyperbole and littered with biased opinions.”

Ahead of Friday’s vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) reportedly reached out to Santos to discuss alternative avenues. Though Johnson did not urge Santos to resign, he reportedly told Santos that resignation would prevent his fellow Republicans from having to take a tough vote.

On Tuesday night, Santos insisted that he “would not be resigning.”

That same night, he had taken to the House floor to defend himself, saying his expulsion—absent a conviction in a court of law—would set a “dangerous precedent for the future.”

“This expulsion vote simply undermines and underscores the precedent that we’ve had in this chamber,” Santos said. “It starts and puts us in a new direction—a dangerous one.”

During a news conference Thursday morning, Santos reiterated his argument, calling the effort to expel him “bullying” and “theater.”

Out of the more than 11,000 Americans who have served in the House of Representatives, only five have been expelled by their colleagues. Three of those were ousted for conduct deemed disloyal to the country before or during the Civil War.

Since 1980, two Representatives have been expelled. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers who was convicted as part of the FBI investigation “ABSCAM”—a sting operation that involved taking bribes from a fake Arab sheikh. And Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after being convicted of bribery and racketeering.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is required by state law to proclaim a special election within 10 days of Santos’ seat becoming vacant. Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi who lost the seat to Santos in 2022 is running for reelection to the position in 2024. 

Santos had survived two prior expulsion votes—before the Ethics report was released.  Following its publication the freshman lawmaker—who had filed for reelection back in March—said that he won’t be running in 2024 after all.

And Santos’ troubles don’t end on Capitol Hill. He is facing a September 9, 2024 trial date for 23 separate felony counts, including wire fraud, identity theft, credit card theft, money laundering and falsely reporting to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he had loaned his campaign $500,000; in fact, he hadn’t given anything while maintaining less than $8,000 in the bank.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to all counts. 

PHOTO: George Santos news conference outside Capitol, Thursday morning

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

 

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