IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Third time’s the charm: House expels GOP’s George Santos

Republican Rep. George Santos survived the first two attempts to expel him from Congress. The third vote, however, led to his ouster.

By

Rep. George Santos survived the first two attempts to expel him from Congress. The third vote, however, led to the New York Republican’s ouster. NBC News reported:

The House voted overwhelmingly to expel indicted Rep. George Santos on Friday, pulling the curtain down on a tempestuous term in office that was marred by revelations that he’d fabricated parts of his biography, a scathing House ethics investigation and a 23-count federal indictment charging him with crimes like wire fraud and money laundering.

The final tally was 311-114, with two members voting present. A two-thirds majority was necessary — in this instance, 290 votes — and proponents cleared the threshold with relative ease.

It’s difficult to overstate how unusual this is. Capitol Hill has featured plenty of scandal-plagued members in recent generations, but successful expulsion votes have only happened three times since the Civil War. In 1980, Democratic Rep. Michael Myers of Pennsylvania was expelled over his involvement with the Abscam scandal, and Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio was expelled in 2002 after he was convicted on multiple corruption charges.

Santos has now joined the small and ignominious club.

At this point, he officially became a former member of Congress the moment the vote concluded. His seat is now vacant, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul will have to schedule a special election in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. That race is expected to be highly competitive.

As for his current office, NBC News reported that under congressional rules, the House clerk “is responsible for supervising the staff and managing the office of any member who dies or resigns or is expelled until a successor is elected.”

But as the dust settles on a truly amazing political tale, it’s worth appreciating just how difficult it was to kick the New York Republican out of office. Santos was exposed as a prolific liar before he was even sworn in as a freshman lawmaker. At the time, House GOP leaders nevertheless treated him as a member in good standing.

In May, the Justice Department charged the then-congressman with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. Republican leaders again ignored those who said Santos should be forced out.

In October, prosecutors filed additional charges against Santos, accusing him of, among other things, identity theft and charging a supporter’s credit card and then transferring the money to his personal bank account.

Republican leaders once again rebuffed those who said Santos should be ousted, and a second attempted expulsion vote fell far short.

But a recent report from the House Ethics Committee changed the nature of the debate. As my MSNBC colleague Clarissa-Jan Lim recently reported, the House Ethics Committee issued a brutal, 56-page report on Nov. 16,?concluding that the freshman lawmaker “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” including using campaign funds for personal use, deceiving donors who thought they were contributing to his campaign, and reporting “fictitious loans” to his political committees to “induce” additional contributions.

“And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience,” the report added.

The panel’s members went on to say that it found “substantial evidence” of criminal wrongdoing — beyond the crimes Santos has already been charged with — and they voted unanimously to refer the evidence to federal prosecutors.

Despite all of this, in the third and final expulsion effort, 112 Republicans and a pair of House Democrats opposed the effort to kick him out of the chamber. Among those who voted “no”: the entirety of the House GOP leadership, including Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.

As for Santos’ future, your guess is as good as mine. He’ll clearly have to focus on his criminal defense — he has pleaded not guilty to each of the aforementioned charges — and he has vowed not to try to reclaim his House seat in 2024.

That said, there are no laws or rules that would prohibit Santos from running for office again. In fact, the last member to be expelled, Ohio’s Traficant, launched a candidacy from prison, and later ran a failed congressional bid after his release.

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news