House to vote on expulsion of Santos on Thursday
WASHINGTON • The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Thursday on whether to expel Republican George Santos, who has been engulfed in scandal since his 2022 election and charged with corruption, House Speaker Mike Johnson said.
Several lawmakers have introduced motions targeting the first-term lawmaker after a report by his House colleagues suggested that federal prosecutors should bring additional charges against Santos, 35, who fabricated large aspects of his life story in his election campaign.
The motion requires a twothirds majority in the House, which Republicans control by a narrow 222-213 majority.
Johnson said he and other Republican leaders were not telling rank-and-file members how to vote. Republicans are divided on whether to expel Santos because he has not been convicted of a crime, the speaker said.
“We’ll see how they vote tomorrow,” he said at a news conference.
Santos’ district, which includes a small slice of New York City and some of its eastern suburbs, is seen as competitive.
The bipartisan Ethics Committee on Nov. 16 released a report on allegations that Santos committed campaign finance fraud. It documented a pattern of poor bookkeeping and misuse of campaign funds so pervasive that his election “has called into question the integrity of the House.”
Santos previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges by prosecutors in New York of laundering campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and charging the credit cards of donors without permission, among other campaign finance violations.
Santos said after the release of the report that he would not run for reelection in 2024, but refused to step down before then.
The Ethics Committee said it referred more “uncharged and unlawful conduct” to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, including new evidence of falsely reported loans received by Santos’ unsuccessful 2020 congressional campaign, improper loan repayments and “systemic reporting errors” in both his 2020 and 2022 campaigns.
The report also detailed extravagant — and possibly illegal — spending of campaign money, including thousands of dollars on Botox, luxury brands such as Hermes, and “smaller purchases” from Onlyfans, a website known for sexual content.
A vote on Nov. 1 to expel Santos failed because Republicans need Santos’ seat to protect their narrow House majority, which empowers them to block much of Democratic President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
But it is unclear whether Santos will receive the same support a second time. A number of the 182 Republicans who voted against expulsion have come out to say they would not do the same again.
Santos first came into the public eye when media outlets revealed he’d fabricated almost every aspect of his personal and professional history, including working at Goldman Sachs and Citibank and graduating from New York University.
The reports caused him to be shunned by many of his House colleagues and made him the frequent butt of jokes by late-night TV comedians.
Santos has since admitted to fabricating large parts of his resume.
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The Gazette, Colorado Springs