House Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican, submitted a resolution Friday to eject GOP Rep. George Santos of New York from Congress, one day after the Ethics Committee delivered a blistering report on its investigation into Santos.
Once lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving break at the end of the month, they will likely take up the resolution.
Santos has withstood past attempts to expel him from the House, but there is mounting momentum for this new effort. Several Republicans who had opposed expulsion before the ethics inquiry said they now supported it.
A two-thirds majority vote in the House is needed to successfully expel a member, hence it rarely happens. Since the report’s release, 13 Republican members have come out in favour of ousting Santos, and that number is certain to climb in the coming days.
The Ethics Committee said that it had found “uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Santos in addition to the current criminal claims against him, and that it would refer the matter to the Justice Department for further examination. Based on their investigation, the committee decided that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidature for his own personal financial profit.”
After the release of the committee’s report, Santos, who has only been a member of Congress since January, announced that he will not seek reelection, despite remaining defiant and denouncing the probe as a “biassed report.”
In addition, Santos faces 23 federal counts, including fraud in connection with Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misuse of campaign funds, and false statements regarding his personal finances on House disclosure reports, all of which he has denied.
A Republican-led campaign to remove Santos from office failed in early November. Several representatives had voiced reservations about the possibility of dismissing a member who was engaged in an ongoing legal battle and who had not yet been convicted of a crime. As the vote approached, Santos spoke out in favour of “the presumption of innocence.”
The House referred a Democratic-led proposal to remove Santos in May to the House Ethics Committee for further consideration.