George Santos expelled from Congress

The House of Representatives voted 311-114 to expel New York Republican George Santos, making him the sixth House member to ever be expelled in a vote of Congress.
The House voted 311 to 114 to expel New York Republican George Santos, making him the sixth member to ever be expelled in a vote of Congress.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Updated: 1:30 p.m.

Members of the House of Representatives voted 311 to 114 Friday morning to expel New York Republican George Santos from Congress. Santos is sixth congressman ever to be expelled from Congress.

The embattled congressman is accused by prosecutors of a number of financial misdeeds, including reimbursing himself for loans to his congressional campaign that he appears to have never actually made — in essence, stealing money from campaign donors.

More than 100 Republicans voted with Democrats to expel Santos, even after House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and most members of House GOP leadership said they would be voting against the measure.

Minnesota Republican Representatives Tom Emmer, Brad Finstad and Michelle Fischbach were against expulsion.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

Voting for expulsion were Minnesota Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber and Minnesota DFL Representatives Angie Craig, Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar. Rep. Dean Phillips, DFL-Minn., did not vote but posted on X he is “on a campaign against corruption and would have voted to expel Rep. Santos.”

Santos will be replaced in a special election, though the date for that vote has not yet been set. He represents a district that President Biden won by 10 points, and the decision to expel him could shrink Republicans’ already razor-thin majority in the House.

The vote followed a report from the House Ethics Committee, led by Rep. Michael Guest R-Miss., which corroborated many of the allegations contained in the indictments.

Guest then quickly put forward a resolution to expel Santos from the House of Representatives.

Why was George Santos removed from Congress?

The freshman lawmaker’s time in Congress has been marred by controversy since before he was sworn in.

The North Shore Leader, a newspaper in Santos’ Long Island district, originally raised questions about claims Santos made during his campaign where he estimated his net worth at roughly $11 million. More extensive allegations were published last December in The New York Times.

Among other lies, the 35-year-old Santos falsely claimed to have been a volleyball star at Baruch College, to have worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and that he was Jewish — stories he later amended or recanted in a Dec. 2022 interview.

“I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” Santos told the New York Post. “I own up to that.”

In May, Santos was indicted on 13 criminal charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.

In October, prosecutors added an additional 10 charges in a superseding indictment, following a plea deal by a former campaign finance official affiliated with his campaign.

A House Ethics Committee report released last month echoes many of the allegations levied against Santos by prosecutors and accuses Santos of stonewalling investigators by neglecting to turn over promised documents.

Santos continues to deny criminal wrongdoing. In a conversation streamed on the social media site X, the lawmaker compared himself to Mary Magdalene and accused his fellow lawmakers of trying to “stone him” out of political expediency.

How often are lawmakers expelled from Congress?

It is rare.

Three men were expelled for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.

More recently, Democrats Michael Myers and James Traficant were expelled after being convicted of bribery — in 1980 and 2002, respectively.

Before the vote, Santos said he would wear the distinction “as a badge of honor.”

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.