House fails to expel Rep. George Santos for the 2nd time

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 13, 2023. Santos faced a vote late Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, to expel him from the House.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 13, 2023. Santos faced a vote late Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, to expel him from the House. | Mariam Zuhaib, Associated Press
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The House of Representatives did not have a two-thirds majority to expel Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., from Congress, voting 179-213 on Wednesday to keep him in the House.

Prior to the vote, Santos said in his remarks on the House floor: “I’d like to say I understand the point of view of my colleagues, but I don’t. One can’t say that they are pro-Constitution and at the same time act as judge, jury, and executioner.”

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., introduced the resolution on the floor, marking the second time House lawmakers consider Santos’ expulsion this year.

D’Esposito, who was supported by the other New York Republicans, pointed out that “Constitutional due process doesn’t apply here,” adding, “We have the facts.”

This expulsion threatened the slim majority House Republicans hold, and several Republican lawmakers also said they wanted to wait until a House Ethics committee report comes out in November. The expulsion vote also comes at a time when another GOP lawmaker, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, faces getting censured over her controversial remarks.

Why did Rep. George Santos face expulsion?

The motion to expel Santos was brought to the House floor after he was charged with 23 counts, including identity theft, money laundering and wire fraud, in October.

The New York representative allegedly lied to the Federal Election Commission about his campaign finances when he transferred campaign money to his personal bank account and used the credit card information of donors without their knowledge to charge money for his campaign, as the Deseret News reported.

Santos pleaded not guilty on Oct. 27. Before his arraignment, Santos clarified that he wouldn’t be clearing out his office or resigning and that he is “entitled to a due process,” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

But the ex-treasurer to Santos pleaded guilty in early October over fraud conspiracy charges, implicating the representative in the charges related to campaign finance, as The Associated Press reported.

The ex-treasurer for U.S. Rep. George Santos, Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty Thursday to a fraud conspiracy charge and implicated the indicted New York Republican in a scheme to embellish his campaign finance reports with a fake loan and fake donors.

The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday that a subcommittee was established to look into Santos by contacting 40 witnesses, reviewing more than 170,000 documents and authorizing 37 subpoenas. The Ethics committee added that it will reveal its “next course of action” on Nov. 17.

GOP representatives from New York band together to get Santos expelled

Prior to the vote, five GOP lawmakers from New York, who introduced the resolution on the House floor, urged colleagues to expel Santos in a letter dated Nov. 1, obtained by Axios reporter Juliegrace Brufke.

It listed false claims Santos made about his college education, his criminal background, his work experience and even his faith.

The letter noted Santos’ removal can threaten the slim majority that Republicans hold in the House, but added that the issue isn’t of political nature but a moral one.

“Some have said that expelling Santos, before a criminal conviction, would set a ‘dangerous’ precedent,” the letter said. “We agree it would set a precedent, but a positive one.”

The letter added, “We should let the American people know if a candidate for Congress lies about everything about himself to get their votes, and then that false identity becomes known by his own admission or otherwise, that House Members will expel the fraudster and give voters a timely opportunity to have proper representation.”

Expelling a congressman is rare. In American history, only five House members have been expelled, with the most recent one being Rep. James Traficant, R-Ohio, in 2002, according to NBC News. Traficant was convicted of federal bribery, fraud and other charges.

Apart from Santos’ expulsion, the House also voted on censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over her alleged antisemitic comments. The motion was tabled in a 222-185 vote.

Censoring a lawmaker requires a simple majority to pass and is more common than expulsion, with roughly 25 representatives censured in history.