GOP Representative George Santos narrowly escaped expulsion from Congress after a resolution to remove him was overwhelmingly rejected. The House voted on the resolution, with 213 lawmakers voting against expulsion, 179 voting in favor, and 19 abstaining.
The push to expel Santos began after he was hit with a 23-count superseding indictment by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The indictment accused Santos of filing fraudulent fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to obtain financial support for his campaign. Additionally, he was charged with repeatedly charging the credit cards of campaign contributors without authorization.
This latest indictment further fueled Democrats’ long-standing efforts to remove Santos from Congress. Despite being a freshman Republican, Santos has one of the strongest conservative voting records among his peers. Democrats have been eager to eliminate his influential presence in Congress.
The Eastern District of New York announced additional charges against Santos, including conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, making materially false statements to the FEC, falsifying records, and identity theft. These charges were in addition to the original seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making false statements to the House of Representatives. The DOJ’s press release highlighted Santos’ alleged theft of identities and unauthorized charges on his own donors’ credit cards.
In response to Santos’ indictment, a group of Republican In Name Only (RINO) lawmakers joined forces with Democrats to introduce the resolution to expel Santos. Led by Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Marc Molinaro, Nick LaLota, Brandon Williams, and Mike Lawler, the resolution aimed to remove Santos from office, citing his legal troubles as a distraction and political liability for the party. The five GOP lawmakers, who are expected to face competitive races in the upcoming elections, emphasized the urgency of removing Santos from Congress.
However, the effort to expel Santos faced significant obstacles. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote of the full House, meaning 290 lawmakers would need to support the resolution. With top Republicans refraining from signaling their support and considering the potential impact on the party’s narrow majority, the resolution faced an uphill battle. Some lawmakers argued that any decision to expel Santos should wait until after his criminal case is resolved or until the House Ethics Committee completes its investigation.
Despite the rejection of the resolution to expel Santos, the controversy surrounding his indictment and the push for his removal continues. Republican Representative Nick LaLota firmly stated, “George Santos deserves to be in prison, not in Congress,” emphasizing the seriousness of the charges against Santos.
This situation remains a developing story, and the outcome of Santos’ legal case and his political future in Congress will continue to draw attention. The rejection of the expulsion resolution, while providing temporary relief for Santos, does not mean an end to the scrutiny and challenges he faces.