Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican under felony indictment in connection with fraud, money laundering and other crimes, was expelled from the House on Friday, becoming only the sixth lawmaker ever forcibly removed from the chamber.
The vote is a dramatic bookend for Santos’ 10-month tenure in Washington, following revelations by the media and a House Ethics Committee report that said Santos fabricated much of his biography, defrauded donors and spent campaign money to bankroll a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing Botox injections, Only Fans subscriptions and personal travel.
The vote was 311-114. Although Democrats voted overwhelmingly to expel Santos, 114 Republicans voted to save him. Two Democrats voted against expulsion, and two voted present.
Two earlier attempts to expel Santos failed after most Republicans and some Democrats expressed opposition to expelling a member who had not been convicted of a crime. But the scathing 56-page House Ethics Committee report, which found “overwhelming evidence of his misconduct,” shifted votes away from the New York lawmaker.
Santos has denied wrongdoing, attributing his removal to petty beefs from his colleagues. He said he was not given due process since he has not been convicted of the charges against him.
House GOP leaders declined to whip colleagues for or against Santos ahead of the Friday vote. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) allowed Republicans to “vote their conscience,” but said he was concerned about setting a modern-day precedent by expelling a member who has not been convicted of a federal crime. Johnson voted against expelling Santos alongside other leaders, including Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York.
Expulsions, which require a two-thirds majority to succeed, are rare. During the Civil War, three House members were removed for supporting the Confederacy. Two others were expelled after being convicted on corruption charges: Democratic Reps. Michael J. “Ozzie” Myers of Pennsylvania in 1980 and James A. Traficant Jr. of Ohio in 2002.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Long Beach) in February led the first effort to oust Santos after details of Santos’ fabrications came to light. The measure, which eventually prompted a formal probe by the House Ethics Committee, failed to gain enough support from the GOP to reach the two-thirds majority needed for expulsion.
The second effort to remove Santos came last month from Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), whose resolution failed in a 213-179 floor vote with just 24 Republicans voting against Santos while 31 Democrats voted against removal in November, including California Democratic Reps. Mark Takano of Riverside, Katie Porter of Irvine and Zoe Lofgren of San Jose. Democratic Reps. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles and Brad Sherman of Northridge voted present while two California Republicans — Mike Garcia and Kevin Kiley — voted in November to remove Santos.
Lofgren said she found Santos’ “behavior to be disgraceful,” but voted to keep him in the chamber during the second vote because the ethics probe had not yet concluded.
Democrats have chided the GOP for slow-walking accountability for Santos. Garcia in an Wednesday interview with The Times touted his maneuver earlier this week to force House Republicans to move quickly on Santos this week. Garcia and much of the chamber had pushed Santos to avoid an embarrassing floor vote and resign, but Santos refused.
“He could do the country and his constituents a service if he just resigned,” Garcia said before the expulsion vote. “A person that fabricates their entire life story and gets elected on a lie should not be in Congress.”
Source: LA Times