This is a statement from Concerned Citizens of NY-03 which has been fighting since January to have George Santos held accountable for defrauding voters and apparently, donors. He has already escaped two votes to expel, and now the House Ethics Committee has issued its report finding “unprecedented” corruption. Further, the Committee found that “the nature of the violations are fundamental ethical failings that go to the core of the legitimacy of the electoral process. And, most significantly, Rep. Santos’ fraud on the electorate is ongoing – he continues to propound falsehoods and misrepresentations.” There is now a third resolution to expel Santos.
In early January, as the litany of Santos’s lies emerged and the scale of his fraud on the electorate became clear, voters came together in a nonpartisan effort to seek his ouster. But even with the firehose of scandals that soon became fodder for late night TV and international media, Santos made it clear that he had no shame and would not resign. Unfortunately, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was unwilling to force Santos out, promising that the Santos mess would be addressed once the House Ethics Committee report was issued, despite the tarnish that Santos’s scandals brought to the GOP.
Outraged NY-03 constituents, the victims of Santos’s fraud, with no voice in Washington, have been holding protest rallies and press conferences, conducting national letter-writing and postcarding campaigns, issuing press statements, signing petitions, and more. For ten months, we have been calling on the House of Representatives to expel Santos.
We understand that the Constitution permits the House to expel a Member of Congress, and there is no limit on that authority, except that it requires a two-thirds majority. But we also understand that expelling a Member of Congress is momentous, with only five expulsions from the House of Representatives in the history of our country – and that the recent expulsions followed criminal convictions. (Santos’s criminal trial will not begin until September at the earliest, so he is unlikely to be convicted before the next election.)
Yesterday, the House Ethics Committee issued their long-awaited report on Santos, which found overwhelming evidence of unethical conduct and illegal activity. But the Ethics Committee chose not to opine on whether Santos should be expelled, instead leaving it up to the House of Representatives to decide if George Santos should become the sixth Member of Congress ever to be expelled from the House. Importantly, the House Ethics Committee found that the Santos case is “unprecedented in many respects.” Further, the Committee found that “the nature of the violations are fundamental ethical failings that go to the core of the legitimacy of the electoral process. And, most significantly, Rep. Santos’ fraud on the electorate is ongoing – he continues to propound falsehoods and misrepresentations.”
Rep. Michael Guest, GOP Chair of the House Ethics Committee, is expected to introduce a privileged Resolution to Expel Santos this morning, which will force a floor vote on November 28th or 29th. We are relying on the GOP leadership to whip votes so that the expulsion resolution passes this time. We are also looking to the NYGOP Five — Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Brandon Williams, Mike Lawler, and Marc Molinaro — to fight to achieve Santos’s ouster. Together they have had the power all along to force the GOP leadership to remove Santos from his seat, but so far, they have chosen not to exercise it. They need to notify Republican leadership that they can no longer count on the NYGOP Five to vote in lockstep with the Republican agenda, until Santos is ousted from Congress.
The Ethics Report makes it clear that Santos’s egregious conduct “warrants public condemnation” and the unprecedented nature and scope of his deceits supports the case for expulsion. Indeed, it would set a dangerous precedent to leave George Santos in Congress for his two-year term after his unrelenting lies, theft, and fraud. Allowing Santos to stay would send the wrong message to future fraudsters: If you lie your way into elected office, there will be no consequences, and you can collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits on the public dime. You can also continue to grift as long as you can take the heat from the press and your constituents.
The residents of NY-03 should not have to spend one more day with Santos as our Congressman. Are Republicans up to the task of bringing some integrity back to the House of Representatives?