WASHINGTON, D.C. — A third vote to expel Representative George Santos (R- NY) from Congress is expected to occur by the end of this week. Santos has pleaded “not guilty” to federal fraud and conspiracy charges in recent months.
However, momentum to remove Santos is at an all-time high after a scathing report from the House Ethics Committee concluded the 35-year-old “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
Santos announced he will not seek reelection in 2024 following the release of the report. Even though he has no plans to resign until the end of his term, a vote as early as Thursday could close the book on his short chapter in Congress.
Republicans narrowly control the House and ousting Santos could hurt their majority. Some Republicans and many Democrats believe Santos’ time is up—but others, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R- LA), are skeptical about the precedent expelling Santos could set.
“I personally have real reservations about doing this. I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that,” said Speaker Johnson in a press conference Wednesday morning.
In a floor speech Tuesday, Santos defended himself against growing scrutiny and calls for his removal.
“This expulsion vote simply undermines and underscores the precedent that we’ve had in this chamber,” said Santos. “Are we to now assume that one is no longer innocent until proven guilty, and they are in fact guilty until proven innocent? Or are we now to simply assume that because somebody doesn’t like you, they get to throw you out of your job,” Santos added.
“He is a serial fraudster. There is no sense that George Santos should have ever been elected. Do you think for any minute, if Republicans had a 25-seat majority, they would care about George Santos’ vote? They needed him to vote for Speaker McCarthy. They needed him to vote for Speaker Johnson. That is the only reason why he is still a member of Congress,” said Rep. Pete. Aguilar (D- CA), the House Democratic Caucus Chair.
Santos would be the sixth member of the chamber ever to be formally ousted. However, he would be the first member to be ousted without having been convicted of the charges he faces.