House Expels Santos

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was removed from Congress through a vote of his colleagues Friday, in a move that could have significant repercussions both for him personally and the balance of power in the House. The move came after an ethics report accused Santos of misusing campaign funds and almost two dozen federal indictments.

Santos was removed by a large margin, including more than 100 Republican votes, passing by a 311-114 margin. A two-thirds majority is needed to expel a member.

In addition to the House Ethics Committee report, the former representative has also been indicted on 23 charges, including wire fraud, identity theft, falsification of records and credit card fraud, among others.

Among the dissenters, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that forcing Santos out would remove his presumption of innocence.

“He hasn’t been tried either civilly or criminally, and that’s what probably gives me the most pause,” he said. “I’ve also become aware that the Republicans on the ethics committee wanted to consider a lesser sanction than removing him, and the three Democrats were not willing to consider anything except the expulsion.”

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), a fellow member of the Republican delegation from New York, disagreed. Molinaro said that he believed that Santos “has committed crimes” and “defrauded voters, taxpayers and donors.”

According to the House Ethics Committee report, Santos allegedly used campign funds on numerous personal uses, including botox and travel. The House Ethics Committee is chaired by Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS).

The report accuses Santos of having “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

“He blatantly stole from his campaign,” the report quotes from a previous investigation.

Santos was also accused of deceiving donors into sending money he would use directly rather than for the campaign and reporting “fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign.”

He was also accused of a “constant series of lies to his constituents, donors and staff about his background and experience.”