A Republican-led effort to oust Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from office failed on Wednesday, allowing the embattled GOP lawmaker to stay in the House despite mounting legal and political trouble.
The chamber voted 179-213-19 on a resolution to oust Santos from office, far short of the two-thirds threshold needed to expel a member of Congress. Only five lawmakers have been expelled from the House in its history, three of whom were booted for being disloyal to the Union during the Civil War.
Wednesday marked the second attempt this year to remove Santos from office. In May, the House voted to refer a Democrat-led expulsion resolution to the Ethics Committee, a decision that was largely regarded as redundant because the panel had been looking into the congressman for months.
But this week’s try — which came during the first full week of Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) tenure — was significant.
The effort was led by a group of Santos’ fellow freshman New York Republicans and it comes as he faces 23 federal charges and stares down a September 2024 trial start date.
It also comes a day after the House Ethics Committee announced it would reveal is “next course of action” in the months-long investigation by Nov. 17.
The freshman New York Republicans — led by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito — moved last week to force a vote on the resolution, setting the stage for Wednesday’s vote. D’Esposito called the legislation to the floor as a privileged resolution, a procedural gambit that forces leadership to set a vote within two legislative days.
In a departure from May, House leadership did not motion to refer the expulsion resolution to committee which, if successful through a majority vote, would have shielded the chamber from having to weigh in on the legislation directly. Leadership also declined to move to table the legislation.
The New York Republicans signaled last week that they would have opposed any effort to delay a vote on the expulsion resolution, which likely would have been enough to sink a motion to refer or table.
The group said the catalyst for forcing the vote was a guilty plea from Santos’s former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, who pleaded guilty to conspiring with the then-candidate to fraudulently inflate his campaign finance reports.
Federal prosecutors charged Santos on 10 new criminal counts shortly after Marks entered a plea deal, accusing the congressman of inflating his campaign finance reports and charging donors’ credit cards without authorization.
The superseding indictment brought the total charges against Santos to 23. In May, he was charged on 13 counts of misleading donors, fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits and lying on House financial disclosures.
Santos pleaded not guilty to all charges and has remained defiant in the face of growing legal troubles, reiterating as recently as last week that he has no plans to resign.
“Three points of clarification: 1. I have not cleared out my office. 2. I’m not resigning. 3. I’m entitled to due process and not a predetermined outcome as some are seeking. God bless!” he wrote on X last week.