George Santos becomes sixth member to be expelled from congress

Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to expel Rep. George Santos in a 311-114 vote. The former Republican congressman from New York, who faces a 23-count federal indictment, became just the sixth member of the House to be expelled in American history.

The expulsion comes after a failed vote on Nov. 1, in which 213 House lawmakers voted against removing the former congressman. Santos’ expulsion on Friday, which reached the required two-thirds majority, can largely be attributed to newfound Republican support after a report on the former congressman from the House Ethics Committee.

The 56-page ethics report, released on Nov. 16, provides evidence for many of the accusations laid against Santos, such as money laundering and falsifying records. It describes how the former congressman used campaign funds for personal expenses, engaged in fraud regarding personal loans, deceived donors and other charges. Alternatively, the committee was not able to substantiate allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The report also includes details from a 2021 vulnerability report against Santos regarding fabrications about his education, business practices, family life and other personal affairs. Such details include lying about acquiring business degrees from New York University and Baruch College, failing to disclose campaign finances and dishonestly making claims about his career in money management.

Santos, who has largely denied the claims against him and has repeatedly characterized his indictment as a “witch hunt,” quickly left the House floor on Friday before the final vote had been closed and declined to answer questions from reporters. He offered brief comments, stating “They just set a new dangerous precedent for themselves” and “To hell with this place.”

Santos’ Long Island colleagues in the House showed disappointment that he had even made it this far. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who represents New York’s 4th congressional district, stated “It’s a sad day for this institution and it’s a sad day for the American people. A new precedent had to be set because someone lied and frauded their way to the House of Representatives — it should have never happened.”

The expulsion of Santos comes as a major victory for many, especially his constituents in New York’s 3rd congressional district after over a year of petitions and calls for the former congressman to resign from his district.

The political ramifications from the expulsion remain uncertain. As the House G.O.P. tries to strengthen and unify under new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Santos’ absence leaves them with one less vote. The seat for New York’s 3rd congressional district will remain vacant until a special election announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul, set for Feb. 13.

Instead of a primary process as in a regular election, the special election will have each party choose their candidates. Numerous candidates are already being discussed for each party, and it will likely be a high-profile election considering the close margin of the House.

Santos now awaits his federal trial, which is set for Sept. 9, 2024.


Featured photo courtesy of @MrSantosNY, X