House Votes Down Attempt to Expel Rep. George Santos

Samantha Flom
By Samantha Flom
November 1, 2023Congress
House Votes Down Attempt to Expel Rep. George Santos
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) walks out of a federal courthouse in Long Island in Central Islip, N.Y., on Oct. 27, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives shot down another attempt to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) on Nov. 1, this time led by his fellow New York Republicans.

The resolution to expel Mr. Santos, introduced last week by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), was the second to come up for a vote this year after Democrats tried to oust the embattled congressman in May.

At that time, Republicans blocked the move by referring the resolution to the House Ethics Committee for its ongoing investigation.

In the latest case, the chamber rejected the measure outright in a 179-213 vote. A two-thirds majority was required for it to pass.

Mr. Santos garnered national attention late last year when he admitted to fabricating his resume to get elected. He now stands accused of 23 federal crimes, including conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud, credit card fraud, false statements, and aggravated identity theft, among others.

A trial has been tentatively scheduled for next September.

Prior to the vote, the congressman maintained his innocence of the allegations against him, charging that his colleagues were targeting him for political gain.

“This expulsion, unfortunately, is politically motivated by some members within this body,” he said on the House floor. “They believe that by attempting to expel me they will garner political points, capitalize on political fundraising, and receive congratulations from those who do not approve of my voting record.”

And that’s a claim the congressman has repeated on social media. In an Oct. 30 X post, he pointed to an email from Mr. D’Esposito’s campaign soliciting donations to support his fight against Mr. Santos as evidence.

“Now tell me it’s not political!” he wrote. “I won’t stop fighting for conservative values, unlike some who are making their career based on attacking me and fundraising off of it. That’s why I have a 100% conservative voting record.”

But on the House floor, Mr. D’Esposito disputed the allegation that the move was political, asserting that he would have put forward the resolution regardless of whether he represented “a bright red district or the brightest of blue districts.”

“This is about doing the right thing,” he continued. “It’s about putting this institution first, and it’s about giving the people of the 3rd Congressional District the opportunity to be represented.”

Fitness for Office

The resolution was backed by several other New York Republicans who felt that Mr. Santos’s admitted dishonesty, combined with the accusations against him, made him unfit to serve as a U.S. representative.

Among those congressmen was Rep. Mike Lawler, who rose to defend the measure on the floor.

“You don’t expel a member for being a jerk. You don’t expel a member for something they said. You expel a member for their conduct,” he noted. “The conduct of Mr. Santos has been embarrassing and unbecoming and unfit for public office.”

Mr. Santos, however, stressed his right to due process.

“I hope that my colleagues come to their senses and recognize that perilous consequences of a trial by media is damaging,” he said. “The loss of the presumption of innocence establishes a dangerous precedent that threatens the very foundation of our legal system and we risk losing the trust that the American people have placed in us by passing judgment without due process.”

Ethics Probe

A day before the vote, the House Ethics Committee released a statement on the status of its eight-month probe, noting that it continues to “expeditiously review” the allegations against Mr. Santos.

Thus far, the committee’s investigative efforts have involved contacting roughly 40 witnesses, reviewing more than 170,000 pages of documents, and issuing 37 subpoenas.

“The Committee’s nonpartisan staff and the ISC [Investigative Subcommittee] Members have put countless hours into this investigation, which has been a priority for the investigative team and involved a significant amount of the Committee’s resources,” the panel added.

The committee is expected to announce its next steps on or before Nov. 17. It remains to be seen whether it will recommend further action.

Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), who sits on the Ethics Committee, said he voted present, citing the panel’s upcoming report on Mr. Santos.

“That’s the due process that Santos has,” Mr. Rutherford told The Epoch Times after the vote. “So I think a lot of people are like, well let’s just wait till we get the report and then make a decision.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who voted against the expulsion attempt, argued that it was too early to make the move given the pending criminal case.

“Due process and the courts matter, so leave it to the courts,” Mr. Roy told reporters after the vote.

“With all due respect to my New York colleagues, I’m not interested in playing politics with somebody’s legal situation.”

From The Epoch Times

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