Briefings: McGovern & Neal Join Most Dems, Many GOP to Expel Wacky Crook…
For only the sixth time in the Republic’s history, the United States House of Representatives has expelled one of its own members. George Santos, the fabulist fraudster from New York, was voted out of the Capitol 311-114, easily clearing the threshold to remove him. Like nearly all Democrats, Western Massachusetts’s congressmen, James McGovern and Richard Neal, voted to can Santos.
Expulsion requires a two-thirds support or 290 votes. Santos had evaded an expulsion vote for months. He skated even as the full breadth of his frauds undulated in public in federal indicments. That changed when a House Ethics Committee report laid bare Santos’ improper spending and other frauds.
Neither McGovern nor Neal have made any public comment on the expulsion as of posting time.
All but two Democrats voted for removal. Two voted present. Three were absent. Among Republicans, 105 voted for expulsion while 112, including Santos himself and all House GOP leadership, oppose the move. Five did not vote.
Half of the House expulsions arose in the context of the Civil War—the Senate has not expelled anyone since then. However, both McGovern and Neal were also present another of the three postbellum expulsions. In 2002, the two Democratic reps joined all but one of their colleagues in voting toss Ohio Representative James Trafficant.
Like Santos, Trafficant’s wacky behavior belied his criminality. Unlike Santos, Trafficant had been convicted in court.
Santos won his seat in 2022. While expecting victories across the country, only in the New York suburbs were Republicans able to spank Democrats. Most attribute Santos’ victory to the red ripple in New York and his opponent’s lack of resources.
Dems and the press, save one local outlet, missed the news. The full extent of his intercontinental grifts would not surface until December reports in The New York Times. Kevin McCarthy, at the time speaker-designate, punted. He needed Santos’ vote to win the speakership and did nothing to discourage the incoming New York freshman from taking his seat.
McCarthy did not vote Friday.
Between his crimes, outlandish claims, biographical minefields, and strange stunts—random baby-cradling is a mild example—Santos quickly become one of the wildest and most distracting figures in Congress.
While the US Justice Department moved quickly to indict Santos not once, but twice, the Ethics Committee took a bit longer. Several reps, including New York Republicans fearful Santos’ stench would poison the favorable air Empire State Republicans had found in recent year, pushed for expulsion sooner. Republicans and many Democrats wanted to wait.
The November 16 House Ethics report shifted the ground under Santos. The Committee found he had stolen from his own campaign and reported false loans to buy luxe goods and online services like OnlyFans (read: probably porn/near-porn).
The panel made no recommendation. Yet, its chair, Michael Guest, a Republican of Mississippi, said he would pursue a new resolution to expel Santos. It became the vehicle that vacated Santos’ seat.
In the last day, Republicans were seemingly getting leaders began declaring their cold feet. While saying it a conscience vote, House Republican opposition to removal. Perhaps they were fearful their thin majority would emaciate further.
Any late mobilization failed to mollify rank & file Republicans. Some claimed Santos burned them personally. On the floor Thursday and in an email Friday, Ohio Republican Max Miller told colleagues Santos had used his and his mother’s credit cards to steal contributions that exceeded federal limits. Correcting it cost thousands of dollars, he said.
Miller has his own fraught history, which Santos used to deflect the attack. Yet, within hours of Miller airing what happened, it had the intended effect. George Santos was no longer in the House.