Cover Photo: (AP News | J. Scott Applewhite)
In an unsurprising turn of events, the House of Representatives voted to expel Republican Representative George Santos following a searing House Ethics Committee report that found Santos committed federal crimes and misused campaign funds for his benefit.
With expulsion from Congress requiring a two-thirds vote, the resolution to expel Santos passed with a bipartisan majority tallying to 311-114 with 105 Republican members voting in favor. However, all four top House GOP leaders, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, voted against his expulsion citing concerns of the precedent it sets.
Santos is now only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled from the chamber, the first congress member expelled in more than two decades, and the first to be ousted since the Civil War without conviction of a felony.
Regardless, Santos faces 33 federal charges, including wire fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and falsifying records and material statements to obstruct the FEC. Santos also has a lengthy record of lying about his background and resume, so much so that even his campaign staffers asked him to resign.
Even more damning, Santos’s former treasurer and close aid Nancy Marks pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit fraud and indicated Santos as an active participant, colluding to create fake loans and donors to inflate his campaign finance reports. Until now, Santos narrowly avoided two previous attempts to remove him and ignored many calls from his colleagues to resign.
However, the House Ethics Committee released a report that found substantial evidence revealing Santos likely did commit fraud and misused campaign funds for personal expenses such as Botox and OnlyFans. Following the report, Santos announced that he would not seek re-election, but he refused to resign, deeming his critics as hypocrites and bullies.
Santos fled from the House chamber before the vote concluded once it became apparent that he was expelled. Journalists swarmed him outside Capitol Hill, but he angrily declined to answer any questions.
“To hell with this place,” he said. “The House voted, that’s their vote — They just set a new dangerous precedent for themselves.”
New York Democratic Governor, Kathy Hochul stated that preparation to fill the vacancy left by Santos’s expulsion is underway as she will schedule a special election to replace him. For now, a House clerk will manage control of Santos’ office and the sign on the door with his name has already been removed.
Santos maintains that he is innocent and a victim of malignant targeting, his criminal trial is scheduled to begin on September 9, 2024.
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