In a historic move, former Representative George Santos of New York was expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives, marking a dramatic end to his brief, controversy-ridden tenure. Santos' expulsion, a culmination of numerous allegations and criminal charges, was finalized on Friday, making him only the sixth member in history to be expelled from the House.
Santos, a Republican, had served for 11 months, representing New York’s 3rd Congressional District, a position he secured in what was seen as a surprising victory. The district, spanning parts of western Long Island, was previously under the Democratic leadership of Rep.
Thomas Suozzi. Santos' win was part of a broader Republican surge in New York during the 2022 elections, a bright spot in an otherwise challenging midterm season for the GOP.
Santos' Scandalous Tenure
However, Santos' term was quickly overshadowed by a series of allegations, beginning with questions about his academic and professional background.
His admission to fabricating his resume was just the tip of the iceberg, as subsequent accusations ranged from credit card fraud to campaign finance violations and identity theft. Legal troubles soon followed, with Santos initially facing 13 criminal charges, later expanded to 23, including serious offenses such as wire fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.
These charges led to travel restrictions imposed by the court, limiting Santos to his district and Washington D.C. Efforts to remove Santos from office began early in his term. The first attempt, led by Democratic Representative Robert Garcia, failed to reach a vote.
A second attempt saw some Democrats siding with Republicans, keeping Santos in office. However, the release of a damning report by the House Ethics Committee, detailing Santos' likely legal violations, set the stage for a successful third attempt.
This final vote, again initiated by Garcia, concluded with 311 in favor and 114 against, a significant shift from previous attempts. Notably, the Republican Party was divided, with 105 voting for expulsion and 112 against.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, while voting against expulsion, encouraged members to vote independently. On the Democratic side, Representatives Bobby Scott and Nikema Williams voted against expulsion, with Al Green and Jonathan Jackson choosing to abstain.
Santos' expulsion is historic, not only for its rarity but also because he is the first House member to be expelled without a prior criminal conviction. The last expulsion from the House was of Rep. James Traficant in 2002, following a corruption scandal.
Santos' departure from Congress is a reminder of the gravity of ethical and legal standards expected of elected officials.