Rep. George Santos Survives Effort to Expel Him From the House

Rep. George Santos Survives Effort to Expel Him From the House – Representative George Santos successfully weathered an expulsion vote in the House. The majority of Republicans, along with 31 Democrats, chose not to impose punishment while both his ongoing criminal trial and a House Ethics Committee investigation continue. The attempt to remove Santos from the House was spearheaded by his fellow New York Republicans.

Who sought to distance themselves from a colleague known for fabricating his life story and facing allegations of misappropriation of donor funds, making false statements to Congress, and obtaining undeserved unemployment benefits. However, the resolution failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority vote, as even a simple majority was out of reach. The final vote tallied 179 in favor of expulsion and 213 against it.

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In order to achieve success, many Republican legislators would have needed to defy the newly elected Speaker, Mike Johnson, who has expressed support for Santos receiving his day in court. Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, also stated on Fox News recently that removing members of Congress due to criminal charges or accusations of misconduct is a concerning issue.

Certain Democrats also expressed reservations about preempting the Ethics Committee’s actions. The committee had released an unusual memo the day prior, emphasizing the extensive nature of its investigation, which involved reaching out to approximately 40 witnesses and issuing 37 subpoenas. The memo also stated that the committee would disclose the next phases of its investigation by November 17.

“I feel like due process is still alive. I feel like there’s enough colleagues on both sides of the aisle here who understand that,” Santos said after the vote. The most severe disciplinary measures have seldom been used by Congress. Throughout its history, the House has expelled just five members, three during the Civil War and two following their convictions for public corruption. 

Removing Santos from the House before his federal court case concludes would represent a significant departure from precedent. Nevertheless, some Republicans have reached a point of disapproval regarding Santos. Representative Steve Womack from Arkansas expressed his belief in due process but also believes that Santos misrepresented himself to New York voters, suggesting they wouldn’t have elected him had they known his true identity.

“We don’t need the Santos charade all the way through the 2024 election cycle. I think the Congress needs to take action now,” Womack said. The debate on the House floor concerning the expulsion of Santos was limited to members from the New York congressional delegation. On one side, Republican Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, and Mike Lawler presented their arguments for Santos’s expulsion.

“Mr. Santos is a stain on this institution and not fit to serve his constituents in the House of Representatives,” D’Esposito said. On the opposing side was Santos, who urged lawmakers to refrain from expelling him, emphasizing that making a judgment without proper due process could lead to a lack of trust. Representative Marc Molinaro, a New York Republican who endorsed the expulsion attempt, mentioned that the delegation is inclined to revisit the matter once the Ethics Committee publishes its investigative results.

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“I suspect the report is going to come public soon, and it’s going to be clear that he should be removed from Congress,” he said. Santos is confronted with 23 federal court charges, with his trial slated for September next year. He has entered a plea of not guilty to these charges. Additionally, on Wednesday evening, the House voted against a censure motion directed at Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, and Democrats abandoned a censure effort aimed at Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia.

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