Should Rep. Santos be expelled from Congress?
House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, filed a resolution to expel Santos from Congress on Friday morning, Nov. 17.
Members are expected to vote on the resolution the week after Thanksgiving.
The rare move came just one day after the committee, made up of five Republicans and five Democrats, released a report saying it had unanimously concluded there was “substantial evidence” of lawbreaking.
Specifically, the investigation found that Santos, a Long Island Republican whose 3rd District includes parts of Nassau County and Queens:
- "Sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit;
- “Blatantly stole from his campaign;
- “Deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit;
- “Reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments’ of those fictitious loans;
- “Used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings;
- “And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.”
The committee said it was “immediately” referring its allegations to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In a statement announcing his resolution, Guest said the Ethics Committee wrapped up its probe without recommending a punishment “given the intense public scrutiny surrounding Representative Santos and the ongoing activity at the DOJ.”
“The evidence uncovered in the Ethics Committee’s investigative subcommittee investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment is expulsion,” he said on X.
“So, separate from the Committee process and my role as Chairman, I have filed an expulsion resolution.”
Expulsion from Congress requires a two-thirds majority vote. Only 20 federal lawmakers have been expelled in the nation’s history: 15 in the Senate and five in the House.
Since the report was released, a growing number of Republicans have called on Santos to resign. Among them is Rep. Mike Lawler, who represents New York’s 17th district in Rockland and Putnam counties.
“If he refuses, he must be removed from Congress. His conduct is not only unbecoming and embarrassing, it is criminal,” he said. “He is unfit to serve and should resign today.”
Santos issued a statement saying he would continue “fighting” and defending his name, though he announced he will not seek reelection in 2024.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed,” he said on X. “I will however NOT be seeking reelection for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”
In another post on X, Santos said he would hold a press conference on the Capitol steps at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30.
Speaking on CNN hours later, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would call for a special election "as soon as possible" should Santos resign or be expelled.
Hochul issued a four-word statement on X saying, "George Santos should resign."
Santos found himself in the committee’s sights in March 2023 after admitting that he lied about much of his background on the campaign trail.
He is already facing a total of 23 federal criminal counts, including identity theft, wire fraud, money laundering, and lying to Congress. Two of his former campaign staffers have already pleaded guilty to federal crimes.
Among his alleged crimes, according to prosecutors, was a scheme to steal thousands of dollars from his campaign donors.
Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is scheduled to stand trial in September 2024.
This continues to be a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
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