House Votes to Expel NY Rep. George Santos Over Ethical, Legal Issues

It’s just the third time Congress has removed a member since the Civil War

The House of Representatives on Friday voted to expel New York Republican Congressman George Santos, who faces a raft of ethical and legal charges.

With nearly unanimous support from House Democrats and nearly half of House Republicans voting to boot the serial liar from the legislative body, Santos became only the third member of Congress to get ousted since the Civil War – and the sixth in U.S. history.

The final vote was 311 to favor of expulsion, 114 against. The vote required a two-thirds majority to remove him from office.

Santos fought the effort until the end, including defending himself House floor debate and speaking to an array of press outlets. “I will not stand by quietly,” he said Friday night as lawmakers debated his removal, The Associated Pres reported. “The people of the Third District of New York sent me here. If they want me out, you’re going to have to go silence those people and go take the hard vote.”

Santos was elected to represent parts of Queens and Long Island in November 2022, flipping a seat to Republicans from Democrats. But before he even took the oath of office, it became clear he lied his way into office, offering constituents a falsified resume and manufactured personal history.

Among the fabrications were that his mother died as a result of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks; that he was of Jewish descent and had family that fled the Holocaust; that he had worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs; that he had four employees who died in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting; that he graduated from Baruch College and was a star player on its championship volleyball team, and that he was Olympic gold medalist. 

He admitted to Piers Morgan in February that he’s “been a terrible liar” on those subjects.

His finances also quickly came under scrutiny.

In May, Santos was arrested on a string of federal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and “making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.”

Court papers cited falsified records claiming that he had earned $750,000 and received millions in dividends from a purported family brokerage company; an unemployment insurance fraud scheme exercised at the start of the Covid pandemic; duped donors to his campaigns and used their money and in some cases their credit cards to pay off debts and buy luxury goods with donors’ money, and that he lied to the House via financial disclosure forms during his May 2020 and September 2022 electoral bids. Prosecutors later added more charges, bringing the indictment to 23 counts. He has pleaded not guilty.

A scathing House Ethics Committee report released two weeks ago brought the final blow. The report, unanimously voted out of the bipartisan committee, showed he spent campaign funds for on an array of personal items, from botox to Only Fans, and concluded that he “cannot be trusted.”

Supporters, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and others in GOP leadership, nevertheless said that he should not be expelled while indicted, but that the vote should wait for a conviction.

Santos seized on that argument in vain. “This will haunt them in the future where mere allegations are sufficient to have members removed from office when duly elected by their people in their respective states and districts,” Santos said, The AP reported.

He was less verbose after the vote. “To hell with this place,” he said after his colleagues ousted him, The New York Times reported. Images online showed Santos leaving the Capitol and getting into a waiting car minutes after the vote without speaking to the waiting press.

“I am prepared to undertake the solemn responsibility of filling the vacancy in New York’s 3rd District,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a post on X after the vote, referring to scheduling a special election for the seat, likely to happen in February. “The people of Long Island deserve nothing less.”

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