George Santos may get to enjoy all sorts of exclusive, lawmakers-only perks — including the ability to walk onto the House floor — even if he's expelled

Reps. George Santos and Lauren Boebert on the House floor on October 17, 2023.
Reps. George Santos and Lauren Boebert on the House floor on October 17, 2023.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
  • George Santos may be expelled from the House of Representatives this week.

  • But even if that happens, he could still enjoy all sorts of perks afforded to former lawmakers.

  • That includes access to the House floor, lawmakers-only gym and dining facilities, and more.

Rep. George Santos of New York may be expelled from the House as soon as this week.

The scandal-plagued Republican apparently expects that to happen, declaring during a profanity-laden tirade against his colleagues that he would wear his expulsion "like a badge of honor."

A vote could happen as soon as Wednesday, and it increasingly appears as if the necessary two-thirds majority — or roughly 290 lawmakers — are willing to expel Santos.

But as it turns out, that's not the end of the story.

"He will become a former member of Congress," said Daniel Schuman, director of governance at the POPVOX Foundation. "Former members of Congress have a lot of privileges."

Those privileges — which would also apply if he resigned — typically include the ability to walk onto the House floor, use lawmakers-only facilities, and even purchase (and perhaps auction off) their own office furniture.

In other words, George Santos may be able to keep LARPing as a member of Congress if he's expelled.

However, Santos could be denied some of these perks — and at least one group says it's already prepared to do so.

Nonetheless, here are some of the key perks that the scandal-plagued congressman may get to enjoy, at least until he ends up behind bars.

He could keep hanging out on the House floor

It's not totally uncommon to see former members in the chamber when the House is in session.

Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a member of the House until last year, was spotted hanging out on the floor during the most recent speakership fight.

According to House rules, any former lawmaker can walk onto the floor unless they're a lobbyist, foreign agent, have a direct personal or financial interest in the bill being considered, or have been convicted of a crime "in relation to that individual's election to, or service to, the House."

That last one is fairly relevant here — Santos is set to go to trial next September for a bevy of charges related to his campaign.

But if Santos's former colleagues want to keep him from loitering around until a possible criminal conviction forbids him from doing so, they could take action on their own.

"They could pass a resolution to exclude him from the House," said Schuman.

He can keep using lawmakers-only gym and dining facilities

Under House rules and by custom, former lawmakers — as long as they're not registered lobbyists — have typically been allowed access to the House gym, as long as they pay a fee.

They can also use parking garages in the Capitol complex and have access to "seating in the House restaurant facilities and Members' dining room," according to the Congressional Research Service.

He could buy his own desk for $1,000 — and probably auction it off for a handsome profit

According to a 2008 Congressional Research Service report, outgoing lawmakers are allowed to purchase their own office furniture.

That report states that lawmakers can buy their desks for $1,000, and their chair for $500. They can also purchase their district office furniture.

If you're George Santos — and have been accused of bilking campaign donors to buy Botox and OnlyFans — you've got to be thinking of the potential for one last grift.

And let's face it: He could make a decent chunk of change by auctioning off his desk.

After all, someone with too much money to spend would probably pay handsomely for it, if only for the meme value.

Exclusive group for former lawmakers wants nothing to do with Santos

Typically, former members of Congress are automatically granted membership in the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, an organization chartered by Congress in 1983 that boasts over 200 members.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, a former House member, hanging out with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the House floor on November 27.
Sen. Markwayne Mullin, a former House member, hanging out with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the House floor on November 27.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The group markets itself as the "premier vehicle" to keep former lawmakers "engaged in government and connected to each other after their federal public service has ended," including via fancy receptions and travel and speaking opportunities.

But in a statement to Business Insider on Monday, the group made clear that it wants nothing to do with Santos.

"We welcome all Members who have completed their service in the House or Senate to join our organization, provided they are in good standing," the organization said. "Given the litany of substantiated allegations in the bipartisan House Ethics Committee's report, Congressman Santos would not fall into that category."

"As an organization that advocates for and showcases bipartisanship, good governance, and the dignity of public service, we feel Congressman Santos' conduct does not reflect those values," the group continued. "Given the long list of accusations he's currently facing, he likely has other things on his mind anyway."

He won't receive any pension benefits

Despite all these other perks, Santos won't receive a pension; according to the Congressional Research Service, members of Congress only receive pension benefits if they've served in the House for five years or more.

Santos hasn't even been in office for 11 months.

And even if he had been in Congress for longer, lawmakers lose pension benefits if they're convicted of public corruption-related offenses.

Though not yet convicted, Santos is set to face trial next September for federal charges including identity theft, wire fraud, and money laundering.

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