(WNY News Now) – In a decisive vote of 311-114, the U.S. House of Representatives ousted Republican Congressman George Santos on Friday, making him the sixth member in history to be expelled, and the first without a criminal conviction or ties to the Civil War.
Washington D.C. – In a historic decision, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 311-114 to expel Republican Congressman George Santos on Friday, marking the end of his brief tenure in the legislative body. The expulsion follows a 23-count indictment levied against Santos, including charges of misusing campaign funds for personal expenses such as Botox and OnlyFans and unauthorized credit card charges.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, while expressing his intent to vote against expulsion, was outnumbered, with the majority of lawmakers supporting the move. This marks only the sixth expulsion in the history of the House and notably the first involving a member without a criminal conviction or ties to the Civil War.
Notably, Democrat James Traficant was the last member to be expelled in 2002, following a criminal corruption conviction. Santos’s expulsion raises questions about the precedent set by removing a representative before a criminal conviction, with some lawmakers expressing concerns about the potential for decisions based on political climate rather than proven guilt.
Two former campaign aides have already pleaded guilty to related fraud charges, further complicating Santos’s position. Despite the mounting evidence, Santos adamantly denies any wrongdoing. His trial is scheduled to commence on September 9, 2024, making the expulsion from the House a prelude to legal proceedings that will determine his guilt or innocence.
The expulsion triggers a process in which Democratic New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has 10 days to call a special election for Santos’s vacant seat. According to regulations, the election must take place within 70 to 80 days from the proclamation. This sudden shift in representation adds an additional layer of complexity to an already dynamic political landscape.
As the news of Santos’s expulsion reverberates, debates emerge regarding the ethical considerations of removing a representative from office based on allegations rather than a proven conviction. Some argue that the multitude of integrity issues and ethics violations outlined in the indictment became a stain on an already tarnished institution, justifying the House’s decision.
However, a contingent of lawmakers, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, express reservations about setting a precedent that could lead to the removal of officials based on political considerations. The delicate balance between upholding the integrity of the legislative body and ensuring due process in legal proceedings remains a focal point of discussion among both Democrats and Republicans.
In the aftermath of Santos’s expulsion, the House faces the challenge of maintaining public trust in its ability to address allegations of corruption while navigating the potential implications for future cases. The coming special election will serve as a barometer of public sentiment, reflecting the electorate’s response to the unfolding events surrounding Congressman George Santos.