The House voted to expel Rep. George Santos (R-New York) on Friday, making Santos the sixth person to ever be removed from the House after a damning House Ethics Committee report released earlier this month uncovered evidence of fraud in relation to his campaign finances.
The expulsion resolution, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, was approved 311 to 114, with 206 Democrats and 105 Republicans voting in favor, despite Republican House leaders uniting against the vote. Two Democrats and 112 Republicans voted “no,” while two Democrats voted “present.”
The vote is the period on the long sentence that is Santos’s campaign and time in Congress, beginning with revelations that he had lied extensively about his resumé and personal background on the campaign trail, and culminating in his much-anticipated expulsion. His time in Congress was marked almost exclusively by his scandals and his allyship with some of the most far right extremists in politics; two previous attempts to expel Santos had failed, with many lawmakers waiting for the Ethics Committee report to be released.
Earlier this month, ethics investigators released their findings of “substantial evidence” that Santos broke campaign finance laws, including “blatantly stealing” from his campaign, the report read. Investigators found that Santos had deceived donors into contributing to his campaign, only to turn around and use the money on procedures like botox, taking trips to places like Las Vegas, making fictitious loans to the campaign, and more.
On top of the ethics report, Santos is facing a litany of federal charges for wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges — and while that case is still not resolved, two of his high-level campaign staff have pled guilty to charges in related cases, potentially implicating the lawmaker.
In a debate on the House floor on the expulsion vote on Thursday night, Santos was defiant about refusing to resign, saying that the vote is a “total perversion” of the House and that he has been denied due process. At one point, Santos pointed out that fellow Republican Rep. Max Miller (Ohio) has been accused of domestic abuse.
“You’re a crook,” said Miller, who filed and later dismissed a defamation suit against the woman who accused him of abuse in 2021.
“My colleague wants to come up here, call me a crook. Same colleague who’s accused of being a woman beater,” Santos shot back.
Far right lawmakers said they feared the “precedent” that an expulsion would set. But Democrats and some Republicans argued that the Ethics Committee report should be sufficient evidence for lawmakers to make a decision on expulsion.
“I ask my colleagues: If we do not take the Ethics Committee and their results seriously, then why even have the committee in the first place?” said Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-New York).
Public Citizen, a government watchdog group, praised the vote, but pointed out that it only came after Republican leaders had attempted to protect Santos despite blatantly lying to his constituents and potentially committing a large amount of campaign finance fraud.
“George Santos’ expulsion from the House of Representatives is long overdue. 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,” said Public Citizen Executive Vice President Lisa Gilbert.
“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 [Mike] 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 continued.