It’s a solemn day. … no one wants to have to remove a member from Congress. But the allegations against him, the evidence was overwhelming.U.S. Representative Michael Guest (R-MS) on the vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY); on Friday, the House voted 311-114 to expel Santos, as he became the only sixth member of the House to ever be expelled, and the first in more than 20 years.
Why It Matters: Republicans currently hold a slim majority in the House; Santos’ expulsion narrows that majority to 221-213, and leaves a vacant seat open. In order to fill this vacancy, New York Governor Kathy Hochul will need to call a special election; this will likely take place in February 2024. The expulsion of Santos comes after a months-long House Ethics Committee investigation alleged that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.” Santos also faces 23 counts in federal court for charges “including identity theft, charging donor’s credit cards without authorization and submitting false campaign finance reports with non-existent loans and contributions that were fabricated or stolen” (POLITICO); he has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his trial has been set for September 2024.
Big Picture: “Of the previous expulsions in the House, three were for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War. The remaining two occurred after the lawmakers were convicted of crimes in federal court,” The Associated Press explains, noting that “Santos had appealed to colleagues to let the court process play out,” warning of “the precedent they would set by expelling a member not yet convicted of a crime.”
Read More: The House expels Rep. George Santos. An ethics report had accused him of breaking federal law (The Associated Press)
by Leah Grainery, based in Texas