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The hits from the House Ethics Committee just keep on coming for Rep. George Santos (R-NY).
On Thursday, the panel released a scathing report that accused him of having “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.” TPM was all over the report, which contained scandalous allegations about Santos directing donor funds from his campaign to his personal account for spending on everything from Hermes to OnlyFans. We even talked to the Botox doctor who provided Santos with cosmetic treatments that investigators said were paid for with campaign cash.
The Ethics Committee report was packed with bombshells, but it did not include a recommendation that Santos be expelled from the House. However, on Friday, the committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), introduced an expulsion resolution.
“The evidence uncovered in the Ethics Committee’s Investigative Subcommittee investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment, is expulsion,” Guest said in a statement. “So, separate from the Committee process and my role as Chairman, I have filed an expulsion resolution.”
Expulsion is exceedingly rare and requires a two thirds majority. There have been earlier resolutions calling for Santos’ ouster, but none have passed. Members — including over 30 Democrats — cited concerns about setting a precedent that one of their colleagues could be removed without trial. Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) — who has relied on Santos’ vote while dealing with a slim and ornery majority — has similarly suggested the embattled lawmaker deserves his day in court.
Johnson’s office did not respond to a request for comment about whether he has changed his mind in the wake of the revelations in the Ethics committee report. However, support for Santos’ removal is clearly growing.
Guest, the sponsor of the resolution, previously voted “present.” He’s not the only one who is now joining the chorus calling for Santos’ removal.
Multiple other lawmakers who did not back the prior resolution have indicated they support the new push. There’s even more movement behind the scenes. A senior aide to a Democrat who voted against expelling Santos last time and plans to support kicking him out now explained their thinking in a conversation with TPM on Friday. The Ethics Committee report — and the way it was handled — was crucial in getting them to change their position.
“The Ethics Committee wasn’t done yet; he hadn’t been found guilty in a court of law. … There had to be due process. Kicking out a member is fucking serious,” said the aide, who requested anonymity to candidly discuss private deliberations, adding, “What I thought the Ethics Committee did that was genius is they put out a report, but they didnt issue an opinion. That empowered members to draw their own conclusions and point to the report. … It gives everyone political cover. It keeps the perception of due process.”
For his part, Santos announced that he plans to hold a press conference on the Capitol Steps on the morning of Nov. 30. The expulsion resolution is not due to hit the House floor until after the Thanksgiving holiday, so Santos is almost certainly going to be making his appearance ahead of the vote. Santos did not respond to texts from TPM asking what he plans to announce.
Our anonymous aide, who said they believe there are now enough votes for the expulsion resolution to pass, offered their own theory and suggested the embattled lawmaker is making an effort to leave somewhat on his own terms.
“I assume that’s him announcing he’ll resign before he gets expelled,” the aide said.
More on other news below. Let’s dig in.