U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) holds a press conference to address efforts to expel him from the House of Representatives, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2023.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
The House is set to vote Friday on whether to expel Rep. George Santos from Congress over the lies, scandals and alleged campaign finance crimes that have defined the New York Republican’s brief and controversial time in office.
If the expulsion resolution passes, Santos will become just the sixth House member in U.S. history to be booted from Congress.
The chamber has already tried multiple times to expel the 35-year-old freshman lawmaker without success.
It takes the support of two-thirds of the House to oust a member. And many Republicans have resisted efforts to voluntarily reduce their already narrow majority in the chamber.
But the release of a scathing House Ethics report about Santos in mid-November spurred many Republicans to change their stance.
The report from the Republican-led panel concluded that Santos “blatantly stole from his campaign” and spent donor money on things like Botox and the adult site OnlyFans, and in purchases at the luxury stores Ferragamo and Hermes.
The report also found “substantial evidence” that he violated federal criminal laws, including some at the center of his active theft and fraud case in New York federal court.
Santos in that case is charged with nearly two dozen counts of crimes including identity theft, submitting false campaign finance reports and stealing unemployment money.
He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.
And he has struck a defiant pose in the face of bipartisan calls for him to resign, even as he announced in the wake of the ethics report that he would not seek reelection in 2024.
Santos resisted additional Republican pressure for him to step down before the latest expulsion vote, saying he wants to “see them set this precedent.”
A few of his GOP colleagues echoed that defense Thursday during a debate on the House floor.
They noted that of the five lawmakers who have been expelled from the House, two were first convicted of federal crimes. The other three were ousted for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said, “Whatever Mr. Santos did with Botox or OnlyFans is far less concerning to me than the indictment against Sen. Menendez who’s holding gold bars from Egypt while he is still getting classified briefings.”
Menendez, D-N.J., who faces federal bribery and foreign agent conspiracy charges, has pleaded not guilty.
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Santos has been entangled in scandal since before being sworn into the House in January.
After winning his race for a district that covers parts of Queens and Long Island — flipping a Democrat-held seat — a bombshell New York Times investigation called into question his campaign spending and a series of claims he made on the campaign trial.
Days later, Santos admitted lying about his professional and educational background. But he denied committing any crimes.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.