The House kicked off its December agenda by voting to kick Rep. George Santos out of Congress on Friday.
While he became the sixth House member ever to be expelled, Santos (R-NY) was the first to be ousted without being convicted of a crime in federal court or supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Expelling a member of Congress is no easy feat, as it requires a two-thirds vote from the whole House. However, the House Ethics Committee evidently supplied sufficient grounds in a report earlier this month for enough of Santos’ colleagues to believe he should be removed from the lower chamber.
The investigators’ report claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” that Santos broke the law by allegedly causing his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission, misusing campaign funds for personal expenses like Botox and other luxury items, and filing financial disclosures that violated the Ethics in Government Act, as reported previously by The Dallas Express.
The report came after the Ethics Committee announced back in March that it was launching an investigation into the freshman congressman, who was accused of deceit following his shocking upset in a Democratic district.
Santos was accused of lying about having Jewish ancestry and of having worked at Wall Street investment banks such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
As The Dallas Express previously reported, Santos also faces 23 federal charges that include fraud and embezzlement related to the issues raised in the Ethics Committee report. However, he has not been tried or convicted of these charges.
Santos survived two previous House resolutions calling for his expulsion.
He had some defenders in the lower chamber. For instance, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) warned his colleagues against removing Santos and voted against the resolution, according to the New York Daily News.
“The momentum seems to be changing. It seems to be moving towards keeping him. He’s innocent till proven [guilty],” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) had said hours before the vote.
On Thursday, more lawmakers expressed misgivings about how Santos’ case was handled, especially within the Republican-led Ethics Committee.
According to the Associated Press, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) questioned the report, stating, “The totality of circumstance appears biased. It stinks of politics, and I’ll oppose this action in every way.”
Even though most Republicans voted against expulsion, including Santos’ colleague from New York, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), it was not enough to save him. The vote went 311-114 in favor of expulsion.
The charge to oust Santos came primarily from other New York Republicans, including Rep. Mike Lawler.
“It’s abundantly clear that George Santos is unfit for public office from dog catcher to Congress,” Lawler said before the vote, according to the New York Daily News. “Leaving this man in office for another year is absurd.”
In the leadup to the vote, Santos remained defiant and cautioned his colleagues about the precedent they would be setting if he were to be forced out on unsubstantiated claims.
“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, according to the AP.
The Dallas Express reached out to Santos for comment and will provide an update if and when there is a response.