Santos Survives Expulsion Vote On House Floor

Embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) avoided expulsion from the House of Representatives on Wednesday night after a resolution to expel him failed to pass. The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to succeed but fell well short, with the final vote standing at 179 to 213 and 19 members voting present.

Santos has faced significant scrutiny in recent months following his indictment on federal charges related to fraud and lying to the Federal Election Commission. A Federal Court in Central Islip, New York, handed down ten additional indictments on Tuesday, bringing the total number of charges to 23. The charges include wire fraud, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and charging donors’ credit cards without permission.

Despite the weight of the charges against him, Santos argued that expelling him from the House would establish a dangerous precedent.

“The loss of the presumption of innocence establishes a dangerous precedent that threatens the very foundation of our legal system,” Santos said before the vote. “We risk losing the trust that the American people placed in us by passing judgment without due process.”

Interestingly, it was several House Democrats who ultimately voted to keep Santos in place. This comes after Democrats introduced their own resolution to expel Santos back in May, following his first set of indictments. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) was one of 31 Democrats who voted against expulsion. He defended his vote by pointing out that Santos has not been convicted of any crimes or found guilty of ethics violations in the House.

“I’m a Constitution guy. This would be a terrible precedent to set, expelling people who have not been convicted of a crime and without internal due process,” Raskin said. “If and when Santos is convicted of these serious criminal offenses or ethics charges, I will certainly vote to expel him.”

Raskin’s stance highlights the delicate balance lawmakers must strike when dealing with colleagues facing criminal charges or ethical violations. It is a fine line between holding individuals accountable for their actions and ensuring that due process is respected. In Santos’s case, the majority of the House, including several of his fellow Republicans, chose to err on the side of due process, allowing him to retain his seat for the time being.

Despite avoiding expulsion, Santos is still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and has stated that he intends to cooperate fully with their inquiry. The committee has said it will announce its next course of action on or before November 17. The outcome of that investigation could further impact Santos’s future in the House, especially if it results in additional charges or findings of ethical violations.

Ultimately, the House’s decision to keep Santos in place reflects a commitment to due process and a recognition that, despite the serious charges against him, he is entitled to his day in court. It is a reminder that in our legal system, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that principle applies to everyone, even those in positions of power.