(USNewsMag.com) – George Santos, the disgraced and notorious New York congressman, is now a former New York congressman after the House of Representatives passed a motion last week to expel Santos.
Santos became the first lawmaker in over 20 years to be kicked out by the House last Friday when newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson slammed the gavel down and officiated the historic vote. Before all the votes were counted, Santos left the chamber and refused to answer questions from reports on the way out.
In order to expel a member of Congress, a two-thirds majority vote is required, and the last time a representative was given the boot was back in 2002 when Congress voted to expel former Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio, who later died in 2014. Traficant had been convicted on charges of bribery and racketeering, among other felony charges.
Although Santos isn’t facing any criminal convictions just yet, he was hit with a 23-count indictment on charges of identity theft, fire fraud, falsifying records, and more as a result of a Congressional probe into his activity. The main accusation against Santos is misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, including botox treatments, luxury shopping sprees, settling debts, travel expenses, and meals. Santos pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence.
Although more Republicans voted in favor of keeping Santos onboard than kicking him out, enough bipartisan support was mustered to expel the former New York representative in a vote of 311 to 114.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California noted the double standard of expelling Santos, while Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is also accused of similar crimes, and no motion to expel was filed against him. Talking to reporters after the vote, Issa also argued that Santos was entitled to the presumption of innocence and that it was taken from him.
Other Republican colleagues, such as Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro of New York, were less sympathetic. Molinaro reiterated his belief that Santos “has committed crimes” and “defrauded voters, taxpayers, and donors.” He and the other GOP members who voted to expel Santos believe it was the right decision.
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