The House voted Friday to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) following his numerous federal charges, including alleged aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy.
The expulsion vote, which required a two-thirds majority, passed easily with 311 representatives voting in the affirmative to 114 voting against, and two voting present. Democrats, who remained mostly united in their vote for Santos’ expulsion, were joined by 105 Republicans.
The New York congressman’s expulsion comes after all four of the top Republican House leaders said they would vote against expelling Santos. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), House GOP Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) all opposed expelling Santos, CNN reported. The Republican leaders believed an expulsion could set a bad precedent since the New York representative has yet to be convicted of any crimes. GOP House leadership also did not work to whip up any votes to keep Santos from being expelled, with Johnson saying it was a vote of conscience.
Earlier this week, the House Speaker said he had “real reservations” about voting to expel Santos, saying, “I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
The House Ethics Committee released a report last month heavily critical of the freshman congressman’s conduct. Santos faces 23 federal charges related to allegations of fraud, misusing campaign funds, and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Friday’s vote was the House’s third attempt over the past six months to boot Santos, and his expulsion marked the first time since 2002 that a member has been removed from office. Santos became the sixth U.S. House member to be expelled, but made history as the first member expelled before being convicted of a crime or having fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. The most recent members who were expelled were Reps. Michael Myers (D-PA) in 1980 and James Traficant (D-OH) in 2002. Both Myers and Traficant were convicted of crimes after they were caught taking bribes.
The list that former Rep. George Santos joins: pic.twitter.com/7zq8fBkbsk
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) December 1, 2023
In a floor speech on Tuesday, Santos warned that his expulsion would set “a very dangerous precedent.”
“This expulsion vote simply undermines and underscores the precedent that we’ve had in this chamber … It puts us in a new direction, a dangerous one that sets a very dangerous precedent,” he said.
The House clerk is tasked with informing New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul about the expulsion, and it will be up to her to schedule a special election to replace Santos, who leaves after less than a year in office.