US Lawmaker George Santos Indicted on Fraud Charges, Facing House Expulsion Vote

Expulsion Vote Could End Scandal-Plagued Lawmaker George Santos’ U.S. House Career

Indicted Republican George Santos’ brief career in the U.S. House of Representatives could come to an end on Friday, when fellow lawmakers are set to vote on expelling him over criminal corruption charges and allegations of misusing campaign funds.

Santos, 35, has been embroiled in controversy since his 2022 election. He has confessed to fabricating much of his biography, while federal prosecutors accuse him of money laundering and defrauding donors. Despite pleading not guilty to these charges, Santos’s seat is in jeopardy due to his conduct.

During a previous expulsion attempt in November, Santos narrowly escaped removal when nearly 200 representatives voted against his expulsion, citing the need for resolution of his criminal case. However, his current situation is far more precarious, with bipartisan support for his ousting surging following revelations he used campaign funds for spa treatments, luxury retail purchases, and expenses on an online platform known for sexual content.

While Santos has refused to step down, he has opted not to seek reelection next year. For his removal, a two-thirds majority in the House is required, meaning at least 77 Republicans and 213 Democrats need to vote for expulsion.

If expelled, Santos would become the sixth member to be removed from the House, and the first without a criminal conviction or ties to the Confederacy. “Every day that Mr. Santos is allowed to remain a member of Congress, my New York neighbors to the west are being denied real representation in these halls,” said Representative Nick LaLota of New York. Santos’ troubles have caused him to be ostracized in the House, making him the target of late-night TV jokes even before he faced federal fraud charges. His trial is set to start shortly before the November 2024 elections.

Should Santos be expelled, Democratic New York State Governor Kathy Hochul will have 10 days to call a special election for the seat. The district, which includes parts of New York City and Long Island, is now seen as competitive.

(Reporting by Makini Brice, Andy Sullivan, and Moira Warburton; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)


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