George Santos Looks To Make The Bad Kind Of History

[US House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Five New York Republicans are demanding that one of their own delegation’s member be removed from Congress, and no it’s not AOC, despite her recent antisemitic rant about AIPAC. 

New York GOP Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams and Mike Lawler recently passed a letter to their House colleagues calling on them to remove George Santos from Congress. The message begs House members to “expel the fraudster” ahead of an anticipated floor vote that could happen as early as this week. 

In a dear colleague letter obtained by POLITICO, the lawmakers say “this issue is not a political one, but a moral one” and “we agree it would set a precedent, but a positive one.”

And if anyone thought the Republicans would end their push after the Ethics Committee announced late Tuesday that it would soon take its next steps in a Santos investigation, think again.

“A new precedent that holds members accountable for lying to voters about their life to be elected to the House of Representatives is one I’m in favor of,” D’Esposito responded when asked if he would change his plans after the ethics announcement.

“Higher standards are what Americans want to see. Those who claim to be fighting the DC status quo — this vote is an opportunity for positive change.”

Santos has denied being guilty of the 23 federal charges he has picked up since entering Congress. The congressman from Long Island has been accused of using his donors’ identities to make unauthorized charges on their credit cards, falsified campaign finance reports, committed money laundering, and other related offenses.

CBS News writes that “the Constitution gives each chamber of Congress the power to expel members with a two-thirds majority vote, meaning nearly 80 Republicans would need to vote with all Democrats to expel Santos for the effort to succeed. Only five representatives have been expelled since 1861. 

The three-page resolution includes roughly a dozen justifications for Santos’ expulsion, including his criminal charges and the series of lies he told about his background before he was elected to Congress in November 2022. “[A]s a result of these actions, George Santos is not fit to serve his constituents as a United States Representative,” it says. The resolution is “privileged,” meaning the House was required to bring it up for a vote soon after its introduction last week.

The House will take up the resolution as part of a series of votes Wednesday evening. The lower chamber will also hold votes on whether to table separate resolutions to censure GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

The five Republicans leading the renewed effort to expel Santos voted against a Democratic push to oust him from Congress in May. The matter was instead referred to the House Ethics Committee, which said Tuesday it would announce its “next course of action” in its investigation by November 17.”

PBS noted that “Congress has rarely resorted to the most extreme punishment at its disposal. The House has expelled only five members in its history — three during the Civil War and two after their convictions on public corruption charges. It would be groundbreaking for the House to kick out Santos before his case in federal court is resolved.”

The last member to be expelled was Democrat James Traficant in 2002 after he was convicted on ten counts including bribery, conspiracy to defraud the United States, corruption, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, and racketeering.

If Santos is indeed kicked out of office, he would be the first Republican to be expelled from the House. So far only Democrats have ever been removed. 

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