On Friday, December 1st, the United States House of Representatives voted to expel Representative George Santos, R-N.Y., marking a rare and historic moment in American politics. The expulsion followed a scathing report by the House Ethics Committee, which found substantial evidence of Santos misusing campaign funds for personal benefit and committing federal crimes. The bipartisan vote of 311-114 surpassed the two-thirds majority required, reflecting a stunning rebuke across party lines.
Santos, embroiled in controversy since before his tenure in Congress, faced allegations of fabricating parts of his resume, including claims of employment at Goldman Sachs and familial ties to Holocaust victims. His tenure was further marred by a multitude of federal charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, and lying to Congress.
Despite calls for his resignation from both sides of the aisle, Santos remained defiant until his expulsion. He admitted to lying about his background but denied all wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. The Ethics Committee’s 56-page report painted a damning picture of Santos, concluding that he “cannot be trusted” and had consistently prioritized personal gain over his constitutional duties.
The expulsion, a rare occurrence in Congress, makes Santos the sixth member ever to be expelled from the House and the first in modern times without a prior criminal conviction. His removal reduces the House GOP’s already slim majority and presents a potential pick-up opportunity for Democrats in his district, which leans Democratic, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is mandated to declare a special election within ten days of the seat’s vacancy, with the election to be held between 70-80 days after Hochul’s proclamation. Santos’ expulsion not only signifies a significant moment in congressional history but also underscores the importance of ethical conduct and accountability in public office.