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George Santos expelled from House over criminal charges and damning ethics report | US News

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Republican congressman George Santos has been expelled from the US House of Representatives after a report found “overwhelming evidence” he misused campaign donations.

Mr Santos was ousted 311-114 in a bipartisan vote – only the sixth time a member has been kicked out of the House since it was founded in 1789.

Two-thirds of members must support the move – but a damning report by the House ethics committee that accused him of breaking federal law appeared to seal his fate.

The 35-year-old led his own defence on the floor of the House and said he would “not stand by quietly”.

Speaking the evening before the vote, he said: “The people of the Third District of New York sent me here. If they want me out, you’re going to have to go silence those people and go take the hard vote.”

Mr Santos argued it would set a precedent that would make expulsions more common.

Three previous cases involved disloyalty to the Union during the American Civil War, the remaining two were after politicians were convicted of federal crimes.

A congressional investigation found he charged his campaign account nearly $4,000 (£3,151) for spa treatments, including Botox.

He also spent more than $4,000 at designer store Hermes and made “smaller purchases” from the OnlyFans site – best known for sexual content.

Protesters had been calling for Mr Santos to be expelled
Image:
Protesters had been calling for Mr Santos to be expelled

As the outcome of Friday’s vote became clear, Mr Santos put his coat over his shoulders, shook hands with some members who voted against his expulsion and exited the chamber.

The House Speaker Mike Johnson solemnly instructed a clerk to inform New York’s governor his seat was now vacant.

Mr Santos was in his first term and had been previously feted as an exciting prospect after he flipped a district from the Democrats in November 2022.

But the committee launched a probe in March after reports he lied about having Jewish ancestry and his grandparents fleeing the Nazis, working at investment bank Goldman Sachs, and his college degree.

It lasted eight months and found “overwhelming evidence” of law-breaking – and Mr Santos has now admitted making up much of his biography.

House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries was one of many supporting the expulsion bid. Pic: AP
Image:
Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries was one of many supporting the expulsion. Pic: AP

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The US attorney’s office indicted him in May, accusing him of cheating donors, laundering campaign funds for his own personal use, and lying to Congress.

It alleged he stole donors’ identities and used their credit cards to make tens of thousands in authorised charges.

Mr Santos has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and his trial is scheduled for September 2024.

“Mr Santos is not a victim. He is a perpetrator of a massive fraud on his constituents and the American people,” said Susan Wild, the top Democrat on the ethics committee.

The last person to be kicked out of the House was Democrat James Traficant over a criminal corruption conviction in 2002.

New York state governor Kathy Hochul now has 10 days to call a special election for Mr Santos’s seat.

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