WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The House voted on Friday to expel Republican Rep. George Santos of New York after an ethics report on his conduct accused him of converting campaign donations for his own use.
Santos is just the sixth member in the chamber’s history to be ousted by colleagues.
The vote to expel was 311-114. Expulsion requires support from two-thirds of the House, a purposefully high bar, but a House Ethics Committee report accused Santos of breaking federal law proved decisive.
Santos fought the expulsion effort leading up to the vote, leading his own defense during House floor debate and in conducting a press conference and interviews.
“I will not stand by quietly,” Santos declared as lawmakers debated his removal the evening before the vote. “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.”
Of the previous expulsions in the House, three were for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War. The remaining two occurred after the lawmakers were convicted of crimes in federal court. Santos made his case for remaining in office by appealing directly to lawmakers who worry they are setting a new precedent that could make expulsions more common.
House Speaker Mike Johnson was among those who voiced concerns about removing Santos, though he has told members to vote their conscience. Others in leadership agreed with his reasoning and opposed expulsion. But some Republicans, including Santos’ colleagues from New York, said voters will welcome lawmakers being held to a higher standard.
Santos warned lawmakers they would regret removing a member before they have had their day in court.
“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.
In early March, the House Ethics Committee announced it was launching an investigation into Santos. Then, in May, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York indicted Santos, accusing him of duping donors, stealing from his campaign and lying to Congress.
Santos also faces a 23-count federal indictment that alleges he stole the identities of campaign donors and then used their credit cards to make tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges. Santos has pleaded not guilty in that case.
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