Embattled New York Rep. George Santos faces a historic expulsion vote on Friday morning in the aftermath of a House Ethics investigation into alleged fraud perpetrated by his campaign following months of scandals around the freshman Republican.
Yahoo News will be livestreaming the vote, which is expected to occur late Friday morning.
Following the release of the ethics report last month, Santos, 35, said he would not seek reelection to the Long Island-area seat he won in 2022. The congressman, however, said he would not resign because if he did the “bullies” would win.
“I will not stand by quietly,” Santos said on the House floor Thursday. “The people of the Third District of New York sent me here. If they want me out, they’re going to have to go silence those people and take the hard vote.”
Santos survived one expulsion attempt last month, as an effort pushed forth by other New York Republicans fell short, with some legislators expressing concern about setting a precedent of removing a colleague from office before they’ve been formally convicted of a crime. However, a number of votes are expected to flip against him after the congressional report found he had spent campaign money on things like Botox, luxury shopping and the adult content website OnlyFans.
If the motion to expel — which requires two-thirds of the chamber to vote yes — is successful, Santos’ seat will be immediately vacated and the already slim Republican majority under House Speaker Mike Johnson will narrow further. A special election to fill his seat in the competitive district would likely happen within three months.
Santos’ short and scandalous history
Before Santos was even sworn in, a steady stream of media reports began last December revealing that he had misled voters about nearly every aspect of his life during the campaign.
Included in the lies put forth by Santos are his religion (he said he was Jewish and his grandparents had escaped the Holocaust before saying he was Catholic but “Jew-ish”), his educational background (he lied about attending both New York University and Baruch College, saying he was a star volleyball player at the latter), his employment history (he said he worked at Goldman Sachs when he had not) and the death of his mother (Santos said she had died in the Sept. 11 attacks, but
when she passed away in 2016 and was not in the United States on 9/11). The North Shore Leader, a Long Island outlet, reported during the campaign that Santos had filed his disclosure 20 months late and with an “inexplicable” rise in his net worth to $11 million.
Santos has also been alleged to have stolen money from a GoFundMe that was meant to help the dying dog of a military service member and was accused of writing bad checks to dog breeders in Pennsylvania, charges that were eventually dropped. One job he actually did have was with Harbor City Capital, which has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of operating a Ponzi scheme. Santos also said that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema told him to hang in there during the 2022 State of the Union address, which the Arizona senator’s office told Yahoo News was a lie.
In May, Santos was charged with 13 counts that included wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and lying to the House of Representatives. Santos pleaded not guilty and called it a “witch hunt.”
In October, the Justice Department charged him with 23 counts tied to campaign fraud, putting forth allegations of “stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign. Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.” That trial is set for next year.
Only five members of the House have been ever been expelled. In 1861, three southern members were booted for their support of the Confederacy in the lead-up to the Civil War. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers of Pennsylvania was expelled in 1980 after he was caught taking bribes in a sting investigation while Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio was removed in 2002 after he was convicted on federal corruption charges that also included bribery, as well as racketeering and tax evasion. The Youngstown-area Democrat ran as an independent for his seat while in prison, earning 15% of the vote.