FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters outside the Capitol, in Washington, May 17, 2023. The House Ethics panel says it has found “substantial evidence” of lawbreaking by Republican Rep. George Santos of New York and has referred its findings to the Justice Department. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Mississippi Congressman Michael Guest, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, offered the expulsion resolution following an investigation into the “egregious violations” by Santos which Guest said made the New York Congressman unfit to serve.
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to expel freshman Republican New York Congressman George Santos. He is the sixth member in U.S. history to be expelled from the chamber and the first Republican and first member without a conviction or who wasn’t part of the Confederacy to be expelled.
An expulsion resolution – H.Res. 878 – sponsored by Mississippi 3rd District Congressman Michael Guest (R), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, was presented in the House this week and voted on by the members on Friday.
“This was a vote of conscience,” Guest said after the vote. “I applaud leadership on the Republican side for not whipping against the vote.”
For expulsion to occur, two-thirds of the chamber had to vote in the affirmative to remove Santos. In total, 311 members voted to expel Santos, with 105 Republicans and 206 Democrats joining in the bipartisan vote. Voting no, or against expulsion, were 112 Republicans and 2 Democrats.
Among those voting to expel the New York Congressman were Mississippi’s Congressmen Guest and Bennie Thompson (D-MS 2). Voting against the resolution to expel were Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS 1) and Mike Ezell (R-MS 4).
Both Kelly and Ezell have expressed concerns over issues around due process with no conviction having been handed down as of yet.
Ethics Chairman Guest’s expulsion resolution came to the floor after the House Ethics Investigative Subcommittee released a 56-page report outlining what the Mississippi Congressman calls “egregious violations” making Santos unfit to serve as a member of the House of Representatives. According to the Ethics report, Santos knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission, used campaign funds for personal purposes, and engaged in fraudulent conduct, among other allegations. You can read the full report here.
Santos has called the Ethics report “incomplete and irresponsible.” However, as Guest notes in the expulsion resolution, the Ethics subcommittee requested that Santos provide all documents and information responsive to its Request for Information, but he did not do so. Santos also did not voluntarily testify or provide a statement under oath to the subcommittee when asked.
On Wednesday, Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters that House leadership was “going to allow people to vote their conscience,” saying he thought that was the only appropriate thing to do.
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t. I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith,” Johnson said. “I personally have real reservations about doing this. I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set.”
On Friday, Johnson and most of this leadership team voted against expelling Santos.
The concern among some members has centered around Santos not having his day in court as of yet, such as that of Congressmen Kelly and Ezell. Santos is facing 23 federal charges which he has pleaded not guilty to. A previous expulsion resolution against Santos was attempted nearly a month ago, but it was unsuccessful as some members wanted the Ethics Committee to complete their work prior to voting on the matter. That resolution failed 179-213, with 19 members voting present.
Santos had announced that he would seek re-election in 2024 but reversed course recently and said he would not be running next year.
Prior to Santos, only five members of the U.S. House had ever been expelled by the body, with only two of those occurring since the Civil War.
Republicans held a 222-213 majority in the House prior to the expulsion of Santos. Now, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has 10 days from the time Santos leaves office to call for a special election for the seat. The special election would then take place within 70 to 80 days from the governor’s proclamation.