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George Santos faces expulsion vote: Can he be expelled?

The moment may finally be here... Congressman George Santos may be expelled from Congress.

Demonstrators with MoveOn, stage a protest calling for the expulsion of U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) featuring a large balloon version of Santos outside of the U.S. Capitol building Washington, U.S., November 28, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Congressman George Santos’s career in the House of Representatives may finally end after nearly a year of scandal surrounding the freshman leader from New York. This morning he reiterated his commitment to staying in his seat... however, his colleges could soon vote to remove him.

Earlier this year, five Republican members of Congress from New York circulated a letter pressing fellow GOP lawmakers to vote in favor of their resolution to expel Rep. George Santos.

The letter called the matter a “moral” issue, and was signed by Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marcus Molinaro, and Brandon Williams, all first-time representatives.

“These lies were more than just exaggerations like many other politicians make. These lies defined George Santos and were the basis for his nomination, election and defrauding donors of millions,” stated the letter.

On 28 November, Santos posted on X that he had met Speaker Mike Johnson and that he would stand for the expulsion vote. The GOP majority has been slow to bring the vote to the floor because if Santos is expelled, their already small majority will shrink even further.

Santos’ lies exposed

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Representative George Santos, a Republican congressman elected to New York’s 3rd Congressional District in November, had lied to his constituents about his credentials. Following this revelation, a House Ethics Committee investigation was launched to examine his conduct.

After his election, reporters discovered inconsistencies between Rep. Santos’ resume and public records and information. The congressman eventually admitted to embellishing his credentials, prompting the Republican Party of Nassau County, which had endorsed his candidacy, to demand his resignation.

In May, Rep. Santos surrendered himself to federal law enforcement after being charged with thirteen counts that included making false statements to the House of Representatives, theft of public funds, and money laundering.

House Ethics Committee conducts an investigation

In early March, the House Ethics Committee announced that they would be investigating the allegations made against Rep. Santos. The press release noted that opening an investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.” Additionally, the committee said that they would not make any further comments until the process had run its course.

The arrest of the congressman increased the stakes for his political future substantially. After the investigation was announced by the Ethics Committee, Rep. Santos proclaimed that he would be seeking re-election, to the shock of many of his constituents who have called on him to resign.

Can George Santos be removed from Congress?

Members of Congress cannot be impeached or recalled. The only way to have them removed from office is to vote them out, the opportunity for which comes up every two years.

If Santos were to resign, the seat would likely be filled by a Democrat, adding a level of petty partisan politics to the ongoing affair.

Santos has struggled to gain Republican support

And his constituents were not alone. Rep. Santos has faced opposition from within his own party ever since his mistruths were revealed in the aftermath of his election win last November. At the State of the Union address earlier this year, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney appeared to confront Rep. Santos in the chamber, and later told reporters that the freshman lawmaker “shouldn’t be in Congress.”

Despite receiving tepid support, at best, from his own party, Rep. Santos’ place in the House was assumed to be secure due to the Republicans’ narrow majority in the chamber.