“A majority of Republicans voted against Santos’ expulsion. That speaks volumes about the state of the Republican Party,” said one observer.
The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly to expel Republican Rep. George Santos on Friday, ending a brief tenure in Congress that was engulfed by glaring and often bewildering scandals.
Santos—who is facing 23 criminal counts including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States—left the House chamber before the vote was complete. The final tally was 311-114, with 112 Republicans—including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)—and two Democrats voting against expulsion.
“Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place,” Santos told reporters following the vote.
Santos, the sixth lawmaker to ever be expelled from the House, flipped New York’s 3rd Congressional District seat from Democratic to Republican in the 2022 midterms, but he began facing calls to step aside before he was even sworn in after it became clear that he fabricated aspects of his biography.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed a 13-count indictment accusing Santos of money laundering, wire fraud, and theft of public funds, among other charges. Santos pleaded not guilty.
In October, federal prosecutors filed 10 additional charges against Santos, intensifying calls for his resignation or expulsion. Last month, the House Ethics Committee released a report alleging that Santos used campaign funds on credit card bills, gambling, Botox, and luxury shopping.
“George Santos’ expulsion from the House of Representatives is long overdue,” Lisa Gilbert, the executive vice president of Public Citizen, said in a statement. “His removal is a testament to the tireless advocacy of ethics advocates and his constituents. Residents of NY-03 were lied to throughout his campaign and denied competent representation in Congress for nearly a year. They now have a chance for honest representation.”
“What should have been an open-and-shut case of defrauding voters became a year-long MAGA circus as former Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy, current Speaker Johnson, and other extreme House leaders shielded Santos from accountability—abandoning ethical responsibility in favor of one additional vote for their dangerous and unpopular agenda,” Gilbert added. “We are all better off now that Santos no longer holds a seat in Congress.”
“Now that Santos has been expelled from Congress, we look forward to seeing him held accountable by our legal system.”
Santos’ ouster triggers a special election early next year that analysts believe is a toss-up. The New York Timesreported Friday that the race is “expected to be one of the most high-profile and expensive off-year House contests in decades.”
“It has the potential to further shrink Republicans’ paper-thin majority and offer a preview of the broader battle for House control next November,” the Times noted. “More than two dozen candidates have already expressed interest in running, and labor unions, super PACs, and other groups have begun earmarking millions of dollars for TV ads.”
Brett Edkins, managing director of policy and political affairs at Stand Up America, said following Friday’s vote that “until the very end, Republican leaders tried to protect Santos, putting cronyism and political expediency over principled leadership.”
“A majority of Republicans voted against Santos’ expulsion. That speaks volumes about the state of the Republican Party,” said Edkins. “The campaign finance laws that Santos clearly violated are essential to preventing and punishing corruption and helping voters make informed decisions at the polls. Now that Santos has been expelled from Congress, we look forward to seeing him held accountable by our legal system.”
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