WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives will hold a vote Wednesday on whether to expel Rep. George Santos, the embattled New York Republican who admitted to lying about his background and who’s been indicted on federal fraud charges.
To oust Santos, the resolution — backed by his fellow New York Republicans — will need the support of at least two-thirds of voting lawmakers. If the effort is successful, it will further dwindle the GOP’s already minuscule majority.
Other lawmakers could be punished as well on Wednesday evening. The House will vote to table a GOP resolution to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., over her criticism of Israel, accusing her of inciting an “insurrection” in a House office building during a protest in support of a cease-fire in Gaza.
And in a tit-for-tat, the chamber will vote to table a Democratic resolution to censure the author of the Tlaib resolution, far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for some of her past controversial actions and remarks.
Santos had asked his colleagues for patience, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “I’m entitled to due process” in court. He pleaded not guilty to a superseding federal indictment against him Friday and is not scheduled to stand trial until September 2024.
The resolution holding that Santos is “not fit to serve” in Congress was introduced on the House floor last week by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y.
Ahead of the vote, D’Esposito and four other New York Republicans facing tough races — Reps. Nick LaLota, Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams and Mike Lawler — sent a letter Wednesday morning to colleagues urging them to back the resolution.
“As Republican members from the New York Delegation, we fully support Santos’ expulsion, and ask all of our colleagues to join us in voting yes,” the New York Republicans wrote.
The five lawmakers also addressed several concerns from colleagues about expelling Santos. In response to cries of “Let the voters decide,” the New York Republicans said voters were “robbed” of that opportunity when they were “duped” into voting for an accused fraudster. And to those concerned about risking the GOP’s already slim majority, the lawmakers said, “This issue is not a political one, but a moral one.”
The resolution referenced the pending criminal charges against Santos and his “history of misrepresenting his and his family’s connections to major events, including the Holocaust, Sept. 11th terrorist attacks and the Pulse nightclub shooting.”
“This is something that we think is the right thing to do,” D’Esposito told reporters last week. He said he’d spoken to newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., about the resolution, and Johnson told him to “do what you think is right and do what’s right for your district.”
LaLota agreed the time had come for Santos to go.
“We need to clean up the Santos mess for Long Island, for New York and for the House of Representatives,” LaLota said.
But expulsion is extremely rare. Just five House members have been expelled in history, three of them for fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The most recent was Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, who was expelled on a near-unanimous vote in 2002 after he was convicted of federal bribery, fraud and other charges.
Santos has been under scrutiny for lying to his constituents since his election after the New York Times reported large parts of his campaign biography were bogus. Other stories followed, including one debunking his claim to a Jewish group that he was Jewish.
In an interview with Piers Morgan, Santos insisted he never claimed to be Jewish, despite video showing he had, and had said he was “Jew-ish” as “a party favor.”
More serious allegations followed. He was indicted in May on seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to Congress on campaign forms.
He was hit with an additional 10 counts last month, including conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, wire fraud, making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission, falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, aggravated identity theft and device fraud.
He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him, which he claims are part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.