The move to expel New York Republican Rep. George Santos from Congress is gaining momentum after the House Ethics Committee released a report saying there is “substantial evidence” he “violated federal criminal laws,” including using campaign funds for personal purposes.
The ethics committee cited as not appearing to have a “campaign nexus” Santos’ spending at Hermès and Ferragamo stores, on an Airbnb in the Hamptons, and for Botox treatments and a subscription to a site often used to host adult content.
Santos, 35, also faces a 23-count criminal indictment in federal court in New York accusing him of wire fraud, falsifying records, identity theft, money laundering, and other charges.
Two-thirds of lawmakers’ votes are needed to expel a House member; 179 members voted in favor of Santos’ expulsion on Nov. 1 and 213 against, with 19 voting “present.”
House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest, R-Miss., was expected to file another resolution to expel Santos from Congress. Democrats said they would file their own expulsion resolutions.
“Rep. Santos has received his due process. This report is fully damning. I will vote to expel him,” Rep. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C, said of the ethics committee’s findings.
Santos’ fellow New York Republican House member Rep Mike Lawler said on X, formerly known as Twitter: “George Santos should end this farce and resign immediately. If he refuses, he must be removed from Congress. His conduct is not only unbecoming and embarrassing, it is criminal.”
The House Ethics Committee said it would refer its findings, including “uncharged” conduct, to the U.S. Justice Department.
“I will remain steadfast in fighting for my rights and for defending my name in the face of adversity,” Santos said Thursday on X. “I am humbled yet again and reminded that I am human and I have flaws, but I will not stand by as I am stoned by those who have flaws themselves.”
If he is expelled, Santos would be the 6th member and the first Republican to be kicked out of the House of Representatives in its 234 years of existence.
James Traficant of Ohio in 2002 was the last House member expelled from Congress. He allegedly used campaign funds for personal use and mistreated staff. He was booted from Congress after being convicted in criminal court on charges of bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion.
Traficant was released from prison in 2009 after serving a 7-year sentence.
“Glib and voluble, he was known for wearing cowboy boots, skinny ties, and out-of-date polyester suits and for a bouffant mound of hair that seemed to defy gravity,” The Washington Post said of Traficant in a Sept. 27, 2014, obituary.
Its headline: “James A. Traficant Jr., colorful Ohio congressman expelled by House, dies at 73.”