(George Santos, R-N.Y., became the sixth lawmaker ever—and the first Republican—to be booted from the House of Representatives, closing the New York Republican’s fraught 11-month tenure in Congress.Rep.
Three Democrat Confederates were previously expelled from Congress in 1861 following the South’s secession, and more recently two Democrats have been removed following criminal convictions of bribery: Michael J. Myers of Pennsylvania in 1980 and James Traficant of Ohio in 2002.
Santos’s Republican colleagues opted to throw him under the bus on the strength of a damning internal ethics report that said he had been uncooperative with investigative efforts rather than wait for a guilty verdict in a pending federal fraud trial.
It immediately winnows the GOP’s razor-thin majority to eight, with the likelihood that Santos’s seat will now flip blue again and make it a margin of only seven.
And yet, his expulsion seemed to be one of the few things on which the gridlocked Congress has been able to reach a strong bipartisan consensus.
Santos had survived two previous expulsion votes led by fellow New York Republicans. However, in the third vote on Friday, 105 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in the vote to remove him.
In November, a House Ethics subcommittee issued a scathing report that concluded Santos likely committed campaign fraud and other ethical violations.
The panel said its investigation determined that there is “substantial evidence” that Santos filed “false or incomplete reports” with the Federal Election Commission, used campaign funds for personal purposes and engaged in fraudulent conduct in violation of House rules.
“Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” the subcommittee said in its report.
Santos’s conduct “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House,” it said.
“Representative George Santos cannot be trusted. At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles,” according to the Ethics Committee report.
The committee unanimously voted to refer the evidence of Santos’s alleged violations to the Justice Department.
Santos also faces federal charges on 23 counts of fraud, including money laundering and identity theft. Federal prosecutors in New York allege that Santos and his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, submitted false financial reports to the Federal Election Commission, inflating his fundraising numbers.
They also allege he fraudulently collected over $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits. A previous indictment filed in May against Santos charged him with embezzling money from his campaign and lying to Congress about his income, among other allegations.
Santos previously admitted faking his résumé and lying about his educational background but said that he hadn’t broken the law or crossed any ethical lines.
Santos also faces a Federal Elections Commission complaint alleging his campaign engaged in a “straw donor scheme” to conceal the sources of a $705,000 personal loan to his campaign.