WASHINGTON — The Jorge Santos saga may soon end on Capitol Hill, although his legal troubles will continue into 2024.
As soon as this week, the House could vote to expel an accused New York Republican lawmaker Blisters Ethics Committee Report She used her campaign funds for personal expenses, including rent, trips, luxury goods, cosmetic treatments like Botox, and a subscription to the adult content site Only Fans.
The report also found that Santos defrauded his donors and knowingly filed false campaign finance reports. (Santos blasted the report as “biased” and pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him).
Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, R-Miss., had filed a resolution before the Thanksgiving break to expel Santos from Congress. When the House returns on Tuesday, the House can force a vote on its resolution later in the week.
“The scale of fraud and abuse is unprecedented. We’ve never seen it before,” Guest said on Monday. Superdog Mississippi Radio Network. “Given the scale of the conduct, I believe eviction is an appropriate remedy.”
Earlier this month, Santos narrowly escaped an attempt by his fellow New York Republicans to oust him from office. But now, following a scathing ethics report released on November 16, many of those who voted Santos deserved due process say they will now vote to oust him.
Although two-thirds of the entire House is required to expel a member, Santos himself has admitted that his days in Congress are numbered. In a long, aggressive online rant on Friday, the first-term lawmaker predicted he would become the sixth person in history to be kicked out of the House of Representatives.
“I knew I was going to be fired when this eviction resolution went to the floor,” Santos said during a three-hour appearance on X Space. “I did the math over and over and it wasn’t good.”
If Santos is successfully ousted, it would trigger a special election for his contested, Long Island-based seat — one of 18 House districts carried by Joe Biden in 2020 that are now represented by Republicans. New York law requires Gov. Kathy Hochul to issue a notice calling for a special election within 10 days of the vacancy, and the election must be held 70 to 80 days after Hochul’s action.
This is a great opportunity for Democrats. Last year, when Santos won by nearly 8 percentage points, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates the race as “lean Democratic.”
And more immediately, Santos’ expected exit would cut Republicans to 220-213 over Democrats, handing new Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., less wiggle room to pass legislation when it comes to matters such as the GOP’s absence. deviations. On top of that, there’s continued talk that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., may resign in the midterms, even if he quashes those rumors.
During Santos’ short time in Washington, drama followed him everywhere. This week will be no different. On Tuesday morning, members of the progressive group MoveOn Political Action will greet returning lawmakers on Capitol Hill with a 15-foot inflatable effigy of Santos calling for his resignation.
In the radio interview, the guest did not discuss the timing of the eviction vote. Speaking to reporters in Sarasota, Florida, Johnson said it remains to be seen if the expulsion vote will happen this week.
“I spent some time with Congressman Santos over the holidays and talked to him about his options,” Johnson said. “But we’ll have to see. That hasn’t been decided yet.”
Expulsion from Congress is very rare. Three of the five members were expelled for disloyalty for fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Two others — Reps. Michael Myers, D-Pa., and James Traficant, D-Ohio — were expelled after being convicted of federal crimes in 1980 and 2002, respectively.
The Justice Department has charged Santos with multiple federal counts including identity theft, money laundering and theft of public funds. He is scheduled to appear for trial in September.
Santos and others argued that ousting him at this time would break precedent — he would be removed from office before he is found innocent or guilty.
“I will stand up for the eviction,” Santos told X Space. “I want to see them set this precedent because this precedent sets a new era.
“You want me out? I’ll wear it as a badge of honor,” Santos said, adding: “I’m with the madness of this place.”