Republicans who kept Rep. Santos in Congress are lining up to oust him after a scathing ethics report
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting on Speaker of the House debate in the Longworth Building on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
House Republicans who previously opposed efforts to oust Republican Rep. George Santos are now lining up to oust him after a scathing ethics report accused the embattled New York lawmaker of fraud and theft on the campaign trail.
But it remains to be seen whether enough of them will turn on their Republican colleagues to expel him from Congress, a move that would require the support of two-thirds of the chamber’s members.
The report, released by the House Ethics Committee on Thursday morning, found that Santos “fraudulently sought to exploit every aspect of his run for the House of Representatives for personal financial gain.”
The report alleged that the 35-year-old freshman “blatantly stole from his campaign,” deceived donors and made bogus campaign loans while continuing a “series of lies” about his background and experience.
The report also accuses Santos of using funds earmarked as campaign donations to “enrich himself,” including by spending more than $4,000 at luxury clothing store Hermès and making purchases on the adult cam site OnlyFans.
Santos, who was already facing related criminal charges in federal court in New York, announced later Thursday that he would not seek re-election in 2024. He has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial next September.
“I will continue my mission to serve my constituents until I am allowed to do so,” Santos wrote on X shortly after the report was released. He added: “But I will not seek re-election for a second term in 2024 because my family deserves better than to be under pressure from the press all the time.”
Santos has previously rejected bipartisan calls for him to resign before the end of his term.
An effort to oust Santos on November 1 failed on the House floor by a vote of 179 to 213, although 24 Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, which was led by a group of New York GOP members. In May, the Republican-majority House Averted Democratic attempt to remove Santos by voting to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee.
The third time may be the charm: House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest, R-Mo., plans to introduce another resolution to expel Santos from Congress, the president’s chief of staff told CNBC on Thursday.
Any such resolution will not be put to a vote before November 28 at the earliest, since the House of Representatives is in recess.
The guest has voted against The latest attempt to remove Santos from Congress. His committee had indicated one day before the vote that it would announce an update on its investigation into Santos by mid-November.
With the committee’s report now published, Guest and a growing number of other Republican lawmakers appear poised to vote to oust one of their own.
“I didn’t vote in the past to oust George because I didn’t think there was due process,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, said Thursday on MSNBC, but “I think he’s got due process now.” “.
“I deliberately waited for the results of the Ethics Committee report to emerge before issuing judgement.” He said Rep. Greg Murphy, R.N.C. “However, given my findings on the facts of this case, I find his conduct reprehensible and unbecoming of a Member of Congress. I will vote to expel him.”
Three Iowa Republicans, Reps. Zach Nunn, Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, join Calls for Santos to leave Congress, as did Reps. Stephanie Pace, R-Okla., Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., and Dusty Johnson, R-D.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who struggled to muster a narrow GOP majority in the House, has refused to join calls for Santos’ resignation.
His successor, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Los Angeles, initially took the same position: “We have no margin for error,” he said in October, “and so George Santos is subject to due process, right?”
In a statement Thursday evening, a spokesman for Johnson called the ethics report’s findings “deeply troubling.”
“As members of both parties, members of the Ethics Committee, and Rep. Santos return to Congress after the Thanksgiving recess, Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is further addressed,” the statement read.
This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com