Congressman George Santos may soon no longer be a member of the House of Representatives. A resolution to expel him from Congress was introduced Nov. 17 by Republican House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest. Then on Tuesday, Rep. Robert Garcia put forward a privileged resolution in the House for expulsion, which requires a vote within two days.
It's the California Democrat's second attempt to unseat Santos, who represents much of the North Shore and part of Queens. Garcia's first effort was on May 16, after Santos was hit with federal charges of wire fraud and lying to officials. But most Republican Congressional members said they would not vote for expulsion then, citing Santos' right to due process, which would be satisfied upon completion of a pending House Ethics Committee investigation into the New York congressman, which began on Feb. 28.
Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, a Republican from Island Park, had also sponsored an expulsion attempt against Santos, which made it to the floor on Nov. 1. But the resolution failed because it did not receive the two-thirds majority needed.
Santos has said on X, the social media platform previously called Twitter, that he believes this time he will be expelled.
Guest's resolution came on the heels of the Ethics Committee's scathing 56-page report released on Nov. 16 detailing evidence Santos broke federal laws, stole from his campaign and delivered a “constant series of lies” to voters and donors on his way to winning a seat in the House of Representatives.
“At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law and ethical principles,” the report reads.
Constituents from the 3rd Congressional District, including members of Concerned Citizens of NY-03, a bipartisan non-profit organization dedicated to Santos' removal, believe the findings in the Ethics Committee's report is telling.
“We believe the report makes an incredibly strong case for his expulsion,” said Jody Kass Finkel, an organizer with Concerned Citizens, a bipartisan non-profit organization dedicated to Santos' removal from office. “But we also recognize that expulsion is a momentous action that cannot be taken lightly by the house.”
Santos has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to receiving coronavirus pandemic unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports.
“The fact that it's taken 11 months for this type of resolution to be introduced by a significant plurality of the Congress is insane,” said Josh Lafazan, a Democrat legislator for Nassau County’s 18th district, who until recently was running for Santos' seat. “My question to anybody on the fence is, what more do you need to see?”
Lafazan noted that many of Santos’ constituents who feel misrepresented aren’t reaching out to him for matters such as passport renewals. They are instead calling Lafazan’s office.
It’s far less important who replaces Santos, Lafazan said, “because at least there will be a functioning member of Congress” for the remainder of his term.
Kellen Curry, a Republican running for Santos' seat, said he believe the ethics report has had a galvanizing effect on building upon the last two resolutions for expulsion.
“If he doesn't resign, then I think he will be expelled once that vote does happen,” Curry said. “So much of what's going on with Santos is really in the past at this point. I think his announcement that he's going to not run for re-election is really the beginning of a new conversation.”
That “new conversation” Curry alludes to include the possibility of a special election, something New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul said she would support.
“I’m very happy to have him resign,” Hochul told CNN in a clip posted on X. “Stop the embarrassment that has befallen the people of his district and the State of New York. Just go away.”