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George Santos became the sixth representative in U.S. history to be expelled from Congress.
But North Carolina’s Reps. Patrick McHenry and Dan Bishop tried to stop it.
On Thursday, the House voted 311 to 114, with two Democrats voting present, to oust Santos following an ethics investigation that uncovered a myriad of misdeeds including using campaign funds to buy designer items, Botox and access to OnlyFans. The scathing report accuses Santos of not only using campaign funds for personal use, but engaging in fraudulent conduct and violating the Ethics in Government Act.
But Santos’ list of alleged misdeeds far exceeds the report. Calls for his resignation began shortly after his election to Congress in 2022 when it was revealed that much of the biography he used in his campaign had been fabricated.
His colleagues have twice tried to remove him, but it takes a two-thirds majority and many, like Rep. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat from Charlotte, wanted to wait on the ethics report. Jackson announced after seeing the report that he would vote to expel Santos.
Rep. Deborah Ross, a Democrat from Wake County who serves on the House Ethics Committee, wrote on social media Wednesday: “Enough is enough with George Santos. He is unfit to serve in Congress.”
She voted along with North Carolina’s other Democrats to oust Santos.
Rep. Don Davis, a Republican from Snow Hill, immediately tweeted a photo of the doors to the U.S. House and wrote, “Members of Congress must always remember it’s an honor and privilege to walk through these doors.”
While Democrats remained unified in their vote, state Republicans were split.
Reps. Patrick McHenry, a Republican from Denver, and Dan Bishop, a Republican from Waxhaw, voted against the expulsion. The others supported it.
Historic vote to expel Santos
Santos’ expulsion puts him in the company of former Rep. Michael Myers and Jim Traficant, Democrats from Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. Both were kicked out of their offices after being convicted of crimes. The other three members were expelled for their ties to the Confederacy.
Like Myers and Traficant, Santos is facing criminal charges. In federal court, Santos has been accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses and using donors’ credit card numbers without permission. He is fighting those charges in court and has pleaded not guilty.
Santos told his colleagues on the House floor Tuesday night that the expulsion vote sets a dangerous precedent.
“Are we to now assume that one is no longer innocent until proven guilty and they are in fact guilty until proven innocent?” Santos asked. “Or are we to now simply assume because somebody doesn’t like you, they get to throw you out of your job?”
On Friday morning, Republican leadership said they would vote against expelling Santos, with Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik all opposed. But they did not whip votes from their party, or call for members to vote with the party.
McHenry recently served as interim speaker after Republicans ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, from his leadership role.
How NC voted
Here’s how North Carolina’s delegation voted:
Don Davis: Yes
Deborah Ross: Yes
Greg Murphy: Yes
Valerie Foushee: Yes
Virginia Foxx: Yes
Kathy Manning: Yes
David Rouzer: Yes
Dan Bishop: No
Chuck Edwards: Yes
Alma Adams: Yes
Wiley Nickel: Yes
Jeff Jackson: Yes