Rep. George Santos is facing a potential threat of expulsion from fellow New York Republican House members after federal prosecutors indicted him on 10 new charges on Thursday, including aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito announced on social media that he is planning to file a resolution to expel Santos on Wednesday in order to “rid the People’s House of [the] fraudster.” The resolution is being supported by five fellow freshmen New York lawmakers, D’Esposito said: Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, Nick Langworthy, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams.
“After the latest indictment I think it’s clear he’s not fit to serve in the House of Representatives,” D’Esposito told CNN’s Manu Raju. “He’s a stain on the institution, and that’s why the New York freshmen have come together. He’s also a stain on our state.”
This is the first formal move by House Republicans to remove Santos from Congress. Though New York Republicans have been outspoken against the lawmaker in past months, they still voted with the rest of the Republican House caucus in May not to expel him in a vote forced by Democrats, instead referring the matter to the Ethics Committee.
An expulsion would require a two-thirds vote from the House. This is extremely rare; only 20 people have ever been removed from Congress this way, with the vast majority of the expulsions related to the Civil War.
The Republicans’ announcement comes after prosecutors filed additional charges against the lawmaker yesterday related to his seeming schemes to mislead the public, the Republican fundraising apparatus and federal regulators about his campaign’s finances. The indictment brings the total number of federal charges against Santos to 23.
Thursday’s charges encompass details about a credit card scheme and several claims made by the lawmaker’s former treasurer, Nancy Marks, who pled guilty to federal charges related to her work with Santos last week.
Prosecutors accused Santos of making a fraudulent $500,000 loan to the campaign at a time when he had less than $8,000 in his personal and business bank accounts as part of a plan to inflate the appearance of his campaign’s funds in order to obtain logistical and financial support from a Republican Party committee.
Additionally, prosecutors said that Santos carried out a plan to steal personal and financial information from donors to his campaign, using their credit cards to authorize fraudulent transactions. The funds were then sent to Santos’s personal bank account, as well as campaign bank accounts for his candidacy and others. In one case, Santos allegedly used a donor’s credit card to make at least $44,800 in transactions; in another, prosecutors said he charged $12,000 to a donor’s credit card, much of which ended up in his own bank account.
Democrats have previously attempted to censure Santos, introducing legislation in July to do so after the expulsion vote failed. Though some Republicans said they would vote to censure Santos — which only requires a simple majority vote — Democrats have tabled the issue for now.
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