Five freshmen from New York are asking their fellow Republicans to oust Rep. George Santos in a vote expected to come later on Wednesday.
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Hours ahead of an anticipated expulsion vote of Rep. George Santos (R-NY), a group of his fellow GOP freshman from the Empire State on Wednesday urged their colleagues to kick the serial-lying and indicted lawmaker out of the chamber.
In a letter aimed at Republicans who may be hesitant to give Santos the boot in light of the slim majority the GOP currently enjoys in the House, Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Marcus Molinaro, Brandon Williams, and Michael Lawler seek to preempt any argument against expulsion.
First and foremost, some of the lawmakers who want to keep Santos around argue that it should be up to the voters to decide whether he should serve in Congress.
“Unfortunately, the voters were robbed of an opportunity to decide when they were duped into voting for a fictitious candidate to represent them in the United States Congress,” the New York freshmen wrote. “By his own admission, George Santos lied about his entire background, from his education to his religion to his work experience to his association with 9/11, thereby denying voters the opportunity to elect a true Representative.”
Then there is the issue of due process, which Santos says he is entitled to. And that may be true in a criminal court, where he has been indicted on 23 counts for alleged crimes from wire fraud and identity theft to falsifying records to the Federal Election Commission.
However, in their letter, the five GOP freshmen from New York argue that Santos has already admitted to so many other types of wrongdoing that warrant expulsion that the outcome of the trial hardly matters.
In addition, they contend that preempting a conviction would set a positive precedent.
“We should let the American people know if a candidate for Congress lies about everything about himself to get their votes, and that false identity becomes known by his own admission or otherwise, that House Members will expel the fraudster and give voters a timely opportunity to have proper representation,” the lawmakers write.
Finally, they also address the real reason why anybody would vote to keep Santos in Congress: power.
“Some of our colleagues have said that removing Santos would further risk our already slim majority. To that, we say this issue is not a political one, but a moral one,” they write. “Plain and simple — this is a question of right and wrong.”
The lawmakers also point to the parallels with Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), who has been indicted for his role in a bribery scheme, and point out that many of his colleagues have also called for his resignation or expulsion.
Ultimately, this will be the issue that decides Santos’s fate in Congress… for now, at least. Expulsion requires a two-thirds majority, and while all Democrats will likely support such a step, that still means that about 80 Republicans would have to vote to oust Santos.
In addition, the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday gave cover to any GOP lawmaker who wants an excuse to vote against expulsion this time around.
In an update on its investigation of Santos, the panel said it had contacted about 40 witnesses, reviewed 170,000 pages of documents, authorized 37 subpoenas, and would “announce its next course of action in this matter on or before November 17, 2023.”
That, of course, provides any lawmaker who needs an excuse to vote against expulsion with the perfect reason to do so.
And, conveniently, some important House votes would take place in the meantime for which Santos may be needed, such as a measure to keep the government from getting shut down.