On Friday, the House of Representatives expelled George Santos (R-N.Y.), a member of Congress plagued with scandal. He is now the first House legislator to be expelled for more than 20 years.
A two-thirds vote is required to expel a member from Congress. In 2002, the late former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) was voted out by Congress.
Traficant was convicted on 10 counts of felony, including racketeering, bribery, and extortion.
Santos was not convicted but has been indicted for 23 counts of wire fraud, identity fraud, falsification records, credit card fraud, and other charges. He is accused of spending campaign money on luxury items and treatments like botox. He has pleaded innocent.
The House GOP’s views on the expulsion of Santos were divided when Republicans emerged Friday morning from a conference held behind closed doors.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a former chair of the House Oversight Committee argued with reporters that removing Santos from the Senate would revoke presumptions he has to innocence. He also referred to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who was accused of accepting bribes and acting for the benefit of Egyptian officials and is still in the Senate.
Issa stated that “he has not been tried civilly or criminally and this is what gives me the most concern.” “I also became aware that the Republicans in the ethics committee were willing to consider a less severe sanction than the removal of him, while the three Democrats refused to consider anything other than the expulsion,” Issa said.
Others, primarily the New York Republican delegation Santos belongs to, claimed there was enough evidence for him to be expelled.
“I think that I have stated correctly George Santos committed crimes.” He has defrauded taxpayers, donors, and voters. We have determined, after a thorough investigation, what standard he should be removed by,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro of New York.
“I hope my colleagues will see through any distortions and realize that this individual is a fraudster, a criminal, and he is likely to continue acting in that manner. He has also met the threshold to not serve the House.”
Santos said he was expecting to be expelled by Congress in an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.