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Against the odds, and the will of several House Republicans from New York, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) will remain in Congress. The famously mendacious congressman managed to hang on this week through a resolution to expel him from the House. As that resolution loomed, we published a pair of exclusive stories this week digging into the House Ethics Committee probe, which increasingly seems set to decide Santos’ fate and outlines some of the reasons his fellow New York GOPers are enraged with him.
The resolution to expel Santos was proposed by five Republican freshmen in relatively competitive districts. Expulsion is incredibly rare (only two House members have been ousted since the Civil War) and is typically reserved for those who have been convicted of a crime. Two thirds of the House has to vote in favor to expel a member. Santos, who also gets a vote, predictably was with the nays.
Many of those who voted against kicking out Santos — which included most Republicans and 31 Democrats — cited concerns about setting a new precedent that might deny him his day in court, or at least the absence of a completed internal investigation. It’s that internal review, in the form of a House Ethics Committee probe into Santos, that formed the basis of our stories this week.
TPM revealed on Tuesday that Ethics Committee investigators have been examining Santos’ involvement with the 2022 campaign of fellow Republican Tina Forte, a far-right challenger to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). We detailed how Santos allegedly steered Forte to a consultancy linked to him and his associates, all without disclosing those ties to Forte’s campaign, per Forte’s campaign manager. The consultancy earned six-figure sums from the race, before the Forte campaign found out and it all ended with a barrage of late-night angry text messages and Forte’s team cooperating with House investigators.
After that report — and with the expulsion resolution looming — the Ethics Committee announced it would “announce its next course of action” in the Santos probe by Nov. 17. The following day, we published a look at other New York area campaigns that worked with Santos-linked firms. Like Forte’s team, several of the other candidates said Santos pretended not to be familiar with the consultancies as he made introductions, including via bizarre Zooms where he allegedly pretended not to know the participants.
Santos, who defended himself against expulsion and has denied any wrongdoing in the ongoing criminal case, did not respond to requests for comment. One of his allegedly unwitting clients, former state senate candidate Stefano Forte, did weigh in and described the question he had when he spoke to Santos. It’s one that has been sticking in all of our minds since the saga of Santos and his bizarre lies exploded into the spotlight:
“I was like, ‘George, you’ve got to be honest with me: Who are you?’” Forte recalled.
More on other news below. Let’s dig in.