Serial liar and alleged fraudster George Santos is no longer a member of Congress. The New York Republican was expelled from his office on Friday after a successful two-thirds majority vote to secure his ouster.
Of the 311 representatives who voted to remove Santos, 105 were members of his own party. Yet despite Santos’ track record as a liar, the criminal indictments against him, and the findings of a scathing House Ethics report exploring his alleged misconduct, some far-right Republicans are furious at the notion that a member of Congress can face repercussions for their actions.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote on Friday that Santos’ expulsion was “shameful.”
“Republican voters want us to stop the communist Democrat’s agenda and hold Democrats accountable, NOT destroy our majority and do nothing to hold Democrats accountable,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Greene also pointed out that the GOP’s now-even-slimmer, three-vote majority in the House may narrow even further in the coming months as rumors swirl that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) may resign before the end of the year.
Republicans refuse to impeach any of the Democrats who are responsible for destroying our country and have so far thrown out a Republican Speaker and now expelled a Republican member.
We now have a 3 seat majority and have another Republican resigning soon, and will have a 2…
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) December 1, 2023
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), wrote on X that while “George Santos is an ass,” he “deserves the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. Charges are not a conviction.”
“Today’s vote was not about accountability, which should have been in the hands of the courts and the people of NY-03. This was about shifting the balance of power in Congress, and I won’t play those games,” Mace added in a subsequent post.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told reporters following the vote that opposition to Santos’ removal from office was “bigger than what he was accused of.”
“My angst is not about what George was accused of, it’s not, because I’m not defending it — it is about the process upon which he was expelled today,” he said.
When asked if he felt Republican leadership could have done more to prevent the expulsion, Donalds said yes, but declined to specify exactly what he felt could have been done differently.
Rep. Donalds on the House voting to expel George Santos: “What happened here today goes against the principles of our institutions.” pic.twitter.com/T2Av5zKxXQ
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) December 1, 2023
While some Republicans have argued that charges are not a conviction and that Santos should have been allowed to remain in his post until his criminal case had been resolved, the argument ignores the impact of the glaring evidence of ethical misconduct uncovered by the Ethics Committee’s investigation.
The initial probe by the committee, opened in March, was spurred by an avalanche of reports regarding the many lies Santos had told the public about himself and his financial history. Santos made exaggerated claims and shared outright lies about virtually every aspect of his background, including his education, religion, the death of his mother, his campaign funding, and his history of employment. Additional charges, including identity theft and credit card fraud, were brought against the congressman in November.
The committee’s final report was published on Nov. 16, and revealed that the investigation had found “substantial evidence of potential violations of federal criminal law” by the Republican congressman. The committee also found that Santos had used campaign funds at Hermès, OnlyFans, and Sephora, as well as for meals, parking, Botox, a luxury vacation in the Hamptons, honeymoon expenses, spa treatments, and to pay off his credit card bills.
Despite some of the GOP conference’s ire at the expulsion, there’s concern amongst other members of the party that they themselves may have been personally scammed by Santos. Shortly before Friday’s vote, Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) sent an email to House Republicans revealing that he personally had been affected by Santos’ misconduct. “The Santos campaign had charged my personal credit card – and the personal card of my Mother — for contribution amounts that exceeded FEC limits,” Miller wrote. “I’ve seen a list of roughly 400 other people to whom the Santos campaign allegedly did this. I believe some other members of this conference might have had the same experience.”
Miller added that while he understands “the position of those who will vote against the expulsion resolution, my personal experience related to the allegations and findings of the Ethics Committee compels me to vote for the resolution.”
After Santos’ removal was officially ratified, Ethics Committee member David Joyce (R-Ohio) told CNN that Rep. Miller’s revelations had “determined the outcome for [Santos.]”
“They may not have believed [the Ethics report] but they believed Max when it came personally from him,” he added.
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