Dem Calls McCarthy On Santos Bluff: How Exactly Do You Expect Ethics Panel To ‘Move Rapidly’

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) arrives at a press conference about Rep. George Santos with other Democratic members of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2023 in Washingto... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) arrives at a press conference about Rep. George Santos with other Democratic members of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2023 in Washington, DC. Garcia introduced a resolution yesterday seeking the expulsion of Santos from Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) has requested a solid timeline from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) through which the House Ethics Committee is expected to complete its probe into Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) alleged unlawful activity and other malfeasances. 

In a letter sent on Thursday morning, the California Democrat called out McCarthy for blocking Democrats efforts to force a floor on expelling Santos. The House speaker reportedly directed his caucus to vote to refer House Resolution 114, introduced by Garcia to expel Santos from his seat in the chamber, to the House Ethics Committee, washing the GOP’s hands of taking action against their member.

“[Y]ou said that [you] believe that such a referral would, in some way, serve to expedite the ongoing ethics investigation into Congressman Santos,” Garcia wrote in the letter shared with TPM.

“I was therefore deeply disappointed by apparent confusion among my Republican colleagues, who took action to effectively deny the American people the opportunity to see a transparent, open vote on whether George Santos deserves to continue to serve as a Member of this body, without doing anything to secure real accountability,” he continued.

Garcia introduced an expulsion resolution on Feb. 9, which was then referred to the Ethics Committee. In March, the panel announced it was moving forward with an investigation into Santos, focused on whether he “engaged in unlawful activity” during his 2022 campaign.

Santos was arrested by federal authorities last week on seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, Garcia took the rare step of introducing a privileged motion to expel Santos, forcing a floor vote on his expulsion resolution. It was a mostly symbolic move designed to put his Republican colleagues on the record on Santos. Expulsions require a two-third supermajority to pass.

But the House speaker enabled his caucus to avoid weighing in when he told reporters on Tuesday night that he was calling on the “Ethics Committee to move rapidly on this.”

“I think we can look at this very quickly and come to a conclusion on what George Santos did and did not do through ethics, a safe bipartisan committee,” the speaker said.

These kinds of investigations aren’t typically done “rapidly.” Garcia acknowledged that reality in his inquiry for more concrete timeline information Thursday.

“Given your promises of swift action by the Ethics Committee,” he wrote, “I hope that you will clarify the timeline by which we can expect the Ethics Committee to ‘move rapidly’ so that the House can take a transparent vote on whether Mr. Santos deserves to continue to serve as a member of this body.”

Republicans filed the motion on Wednesday to refer the expulsion resolution to the House Ethics Committee. It passed with a 221-204 party line vote, including Santos himself voting “Yes” instead of “Present.”

Read the full letter below:

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