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Congress faces decision on ousting Santos for campaign finance violations

By Jake Beardslee · November 28, 2023

In brief…

  • Rep. Robert Garcia called a vote to expel Rep. George Santos within two days due to Ethics Committee findings.
  • Report found Santos illegally used campaign funds for trips, procedures, luxury purchases, and adult content.
  • Santos said he expects the expulsion vote to succeed, calling the math "not good."
  • Some lawmakers now support expelling Santos after opposing previous efforts this year.
  • Garcia had pledged to force a vote on Santos' ouster upon Congress' return.
Rep. Robert Garcia initiated a likely-to-succeed congressional expulsion vote against Rep. George Santos following an Ethics Committee report detailing Santos' use of campaign finances.  U.S. House Office of Photography/Wikimedia

A new push to expel embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is underway in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) called a resolution to expel Santos to the floor, forcing a vote within two days. This comes after the House Ethics Committee released a report finding “substantial evidence of potential violations of federal criminal law” by Santos related to his campaign finances, according to The Hill.

According to the report, Santos improperly allocated campaign money to pay for travel to Atlantic City and Las Vegas. He also used these funds for cosmetic treatments like Botox, shopping sprees at the upscale Hermés brand, and accessing content on a website prominently featuring adult entertainment.

Representative Dan Goldman, who has consistently spoken out against Santos, supported Garcia’s motion on the House floor. This current attempt marks the third try at expulsion this year. Previous efforts did not secure the two-thirds vote threshold required. But now there is increased likelihood of removing Santos, since the Ethics Committee’s findings have convinced some legislators who were originally hesitant.

“In modern times, it is House precedent that Representatives are only expelled after conviction of a felony. In the matter involving Rep. Santos, the Ethics Committee has now found and documented conduct that is as serious as that of Members who on prior occasions have been expelled following felony convictions,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who now supports ousting Santos.

Santos himself acknowledged the math looks unfavorable, during an X Spaces conversation. “I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” Santos said Friday. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”

Last week, Rep. Garcia vowed to compel a vote on expelling Rep. Santos when Congress reconvened after its break. Very soon after the House Ethics Committee publicized its findings, the California congressman declared his intention to bring forward a resolution—which takes priority on the legislative calendar—to remove his colleague from office. Garcia referred to Santos as “a liar and fraud.” What the outcome will be when the question of ejecting Santos comes up for a vote in the near future is still uncertain.