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House votes to remove embattled Rep. George Santos

By Jake Beardslee · December 1, 2023

In brief…

  • House voted 311-114 to expel Rep. George Santos after months of scandals
  • Extraordinary move ends Santos's brief, chaotic time in Congress
  • Creates immediate vacancy in narrowly divided House under Speaker Johnson
  • Took 3 attempts over 6 months to oust Santos for fabrications, charges
  • Critics say expulsion without conviction could prompt more in future
After 11 months of scandals, the House made the extraordinary move to expel Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican whose brief tenure strained party unity.  U.S. House of Representatives - Office of the Clerk/Wikimedia

After months of controversy, the House voted Friday to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY), making him the sixth member ever ousted from the chamber. The extraordinary move required support from a supermajority to meet the high bar for expelling a sitting member. The 311-114 vote, with 105 Republicans joining most Democrats, ended Santos’s brief and tumultuous tenure in Congress.

Santos was facing federal indictment on 23 counts including wire fraud and identity theft. Many Republicans saw him as damaging the party’s image ahead of tough 2024 elections. His removal complicates life for Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), shrinking his razor-thin majority. “He has lied to donors and colleagues, taking advantage of election law, using campaign funds to benefit himself,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY).

It took three tries over six months to expel Santos. Critics accelerated efforts after criminal charges and an Ethics Committee report stating he “violated federal criminal laws.” Santos remained defiant, proclaiming innocence and attacking “bullies.” He appeared resigned that expulsion was likely, saying, “I have just made peace with God.”

The unprecedented case could set a new precedent for expulsion without criminal conviction. Supporters argued the Ethics findings justified removal and “a new standard.” Santos warned it “sets a dangerous precedent” undermining elections.