Out Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) is forcing the House of Representatives to vote on kicking out Rep. George Santos (R-NY) after he was charged with 13 federal counts that could get him sentenced to well over a century in prison.
“Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Clause 2A1 of Rule 9, I rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges of the House,” Garcia said. He introduced a resolution that “George Santos be and hereby is expelled from the House of Representatives.”
Along with Garcia, out LGBTQ+ Reps. Eric Sorensen (D-IL) and Becca Balint (D-VT) are lead co-sponsors of the short resolution to expel Santos, and they sat behind Garcia as he presented it. The House could vote on whether to expel Santos in the next two days.
Santos was elected to the House in the 2022 midterms. About a month after the election, multiple news reports showed that he had either fabricated or couldn’t corroborate large parts of his life story, including his education, job, and family histories. He was also accused by many people who knew him of stealing and committing acts of fraud – and he faced prosecution in Brazil (which he confessed to and agreed to pay fines and restitution).
Last week, he surrendered to federal authorities in New York and is now facing 13 federal criminal charges related to alleged unemployment and campaign finance fraud. This includes allegedly filing for unemployment benefits while he had a job that paid $120,000 a year and collecting $24,744 in benefits; allegedly running an LLC that he told campaign donors to give money to and then spending the money on luxury clothes; and allegedly not properly declaring income on financial disclosure forms.
He posted $500,000 bail before taking questions from reporters outside the courthouse and called the case against him a “witch hunt.” If convicted, he could be sentenced to 140 years in prison on seven wire fraud charges alone.
Republicans have stood by him, saying that they are waiting for the results of his trial, which might not be finished before his first term is over.
“Certainly there are questions and there’s an investigation and people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when they break the law,” House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said. “And in this case, there are investigations that are pending, and it’s not the first time I’ve served with colleagues in Congress who have been under investigation.”
“George Santos is a fraud and a liar, and he needs to be expelled by the House,” Garcia said in a statement posted to social media. “News that federal prosecutors are filing 13 criminal charges against George Santos should have been the final straw for [Speaker] Kevin McCarthy, but he refuses to act.”
Republicans hold a thin majority in the House, and a two-thirds majority is necessary to expel a member. Without substantial Republican support, the resolution will not pass.
But Garcia noted on Twitter that the point is to give Republicans “the chance to demonstrate to the American people that an admitted liar and criminal should not serve in Congress.” In other words, their possible votes to keep Santos in Congress could appear in campaign ads next year.