Rep. George Santos beat back a resolution spearheaded by his fellow New York GOP members of Congress to expel him from the House based on the criminal and ethical allegations that he is facing.
Santos is under fire for allegedly misleading donors, committing unemployment benefits fraud, and lying on House financial disclosures, all of which he firmly denies, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The House voted on a resolution introduced by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) to expel Santos on Wednesday. In the final tally, most of the House did not support the expulsion. The measure failed 179-213, garnering fewer votes than the two-thirds required to succeed. Just 24 Republicans voted to expel, while 31 Democrats joined a majority of Republicans in voting against expulsion.
Democrats had voted for their own party’s resolution to expel Santos in May, so the defections puzzled some Republicans who backed this latest attempt.
“What’s gotten better since they made the motion to expel?” asked Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), who voted to oust Santos, as reported by Axios. “What innocence has he achieved since they chastised us for not acting months ago? What’s changed?”
Notable members of the House who voted against expulsion included Rep. Rob Menendez (D-NJ), whose father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), is facing calls to step down after the DOJ filed several charges against him, including bribery, per Axios. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also voted nay on the same day that the House considered censuring her for her rhetoric around the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. That effort was tabled over First Amendment concerns, as reported by the AP.
However, Santos may not be completely safe from another expulsion effort. Some members who voted against his expulsion alluded to their belief that the effort was simply premature.
“If and when Santos is convicted of these serious criminal offenses or ethics charges, I will certainly vote to expel,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who is also a constitutional law professor, as Axios reported. “Until then, it’s a very risky road to go down, and we have to stick by due process and the rule of law, as obvious as the eventual result seems.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) also said he was waiting for the Ethics Committee to release its findings, at which time he might reconsider his position, per Axios. Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX), whose district includes much of Dallas County, also voted to keep Santos in Congress.
Rep. D’Esposito expressed his belief that the effort to expel Santos would arise again, commenting that he is “confident” the Ethics Committee will “outline what New Yorkers already know – that George Santos is a fraud unworthy of serving in public office,” as reported by Axios.
Santos has vehemently maintained that he is innocent.
“I’m going to continue to fight this as much as I said in the past. Nothing has changed,” he previously told reporters outside his office, as reported by CNN. “I think I’ve made it clear that I will fight this to prove my innocence. So yeah, I’m pretty much denying every last bit of [the] charges.”