The first-term congressman is the sixth House member to be expelled since Congress began deliberating in 1789 and the first since 2002.
United States lawmakers have voted to expel George Santos, the scandal-plagued politician who lied his way into Congress and has been indicted on charges of bankrolling his lavish lifestyle with stolen donor cash.
The House of Representatives voted 311-114 on Friday to immediately oust the freshman lawmaker, above the two-thirds majority required to remove one of its own.
One of the most controversial figures in the 234-year history of the House, the 35-year-old New York Republican is only the third person to join Washington’s rogues gallery of ejected lawmakers since the Civil War.
He swept into the House in 2022, helping the Republicans grab a slender majority, but it quickly emerged that almost his entire backstory was a fabrication, from his education and religion to his personal history and professional experience.
Federal prosecutors have accused Santos of laundering campaign funds and defrauding donors. Santos has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
But he was ultimately doomed by a congressional ethics investigation that found “overwhelming evidence” of misconduct and accused him of seeking to “fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy”.
“You, sir, are a crook,” said Ohio’s Max Miller, one of several members of Santos’s own party to stand up on the House floor to denounce him in a debate on the expulsion on Thursday.
“My future former colleague is divorced from reality. He has manufactured his entire life,” said Marc Molinaro, a fellow New York Republican, while another member from the state’s delegation, Anthony D’Esposito, called Santos a “liar”.
Santos allegedly used donor money for Botox treatments and the OnlyFans porn website as well as luxury Italian goods and vacations to the Hamptons and Las Vegas, according to the House Committee on Ethics.
Two previous attempts to expel Santos had failed, but the ethics report was enough to sway many of his defenders, and he was ousted in an overwhelming vote supported by more than 100 of his fellow Republicans.
Aside from the criminal allegations, Santos has become notorious for a series of bizarre fabrications, including claiming to have worked for Goldman Sachs, being Jewish and having been a college volleyball star.
Beyond accusing the Ethics Committee of a “smear campaign”, he has not publicly addressed the accusations in any detail.
Shortly before the vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson said he would vote against the expulsion, an aide said. He and the other three top Republican leaders in the lower chamber of the US Congress voted no.
Santos is the sixth House member to be expelled since Congress first convened in 1789 and the first since 2002 when Ohio Democrat James Traficant was ousted over a bribery conviction.
There was considerable doubt ahead of the vote over whether it would get the required “super-majority” as the Republican leadership declined to whip the rank and file either way.
Dozens of Republicans said they were reluctant to condemn a man who first deserves due process although he is unlikely to have his day in court until September – close to what would have been the end of his two-year term.
“Since the beginning of Congress, there’s only two ways you get expelled: You get convicted of a crime, or you participated in the Civil War. Neither apply to George Santos,” Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz said in a floor speech on Thursday.