Home of Representatives votes to maneuver decision to expel George Santos to Ethics Committee
The ultimate vote on the movement to refer the decision to the ethics committee was 221-204. Seven deputies voted with these current. Whereas Rep. Susan Wilde (Pennsylvania), the highest Democrat on the Ethics Committee, and 4 different Democrats within the group voted “current” within the vote rely, Rep. Michael Visitor (R-Miss.), who chairs the committee, and all members of the GOP group voted to move the decision to their committee.
Santos additionally voted to move the decision.
The matter is at the moment within the palms of the Home Ethics Committee, which has been investigating Santos since March and is analyzing a variety of claims towards the freshman congressman, together with his previous enterprise practices, marketing campaign finance spending and allegations of sexual harassment.
The Democratic effort to oust Santos from Congress comes days after federal prosecutors charged him with 13 monetary crimes, together with defrauding his donors, utilizing their cash for private achieve and mistakenly claiming unemployment advantages.
On this case, Santos faces seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of cash laundering, one rely of theft of public funds, and two counts of mendacity to the Home of Representatives on Monetary Kinds. On Might 10, he pleaded not responsible to all fees, denied legal wrongdoing, and referred to as the judicial investigations a “witch hunt”.
On Wednesday morning, Garcia described Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) makes an attempt to ship his proposal to the Ethics Committee as a “cop-out”, noting that the committee was already investigating Santos. At a briefing on the Capitol, Garcia listed a lot of Santos’ lies and urged Congress to rapidly expel the freshman MP, whom he referred to as “a shame to the Home of Representatives and the nation.”
“Each Republican ought to get up and be a part of us to defend this physique and oust George Santos,” he mentioned.
Talking to reporters as he left the Capitol after the vote, Santos thanked the Republican management for pushing for a vote to take the proposal to the Ethics Committee.
“On this nation, everyone seems to be harmless till confirmed responsible,” Santos mentioned. “You can’t be choose, jury and executioner. I’ve the best – the constitutional proper – to defend myself, and I’ll do it.”
Santos mentioned that if the ethics committee finds a cause to fireplace him, “it is a course of.”
Rep. George Santos pleads not responsible to 13 counts of economic crimes
In March, the Ethics Committee voted to type a bipartisan subcommittee to analyze the allegations about Santos.
In a March assertion, the ethics fee mentioned it was working to find out whether or not Santos, 34, might have “engaged in unlawful actions in relation to his 2022 Congressional marketing campaign; did not correctly disclose the required details about purposes filed with the Home of Representatives; violated federal battle of curiosity legal guidelines in reference to their function in a fiduciary providers agency; and/or engaged in sexual harassment of a job seeker of their congressional workplace.”
McCarthy on Tuesday rebuffed the Democrats’ transfer to kick Santos out of the Home, telling reporters the matter ought to be handled by a bipartisan ethics committee.
“I feel these allegations are very critical,” however “it’s a must to have a course of,” McCarthy mentioned Tuesday in Washington. “I do not need to watch for the courts to determine,” and the Ethics Committee might work “sooner” than the courts, he mentioned.
A number of Republicans within the Home of Representatives, who had beforehand referred to as for Santos to resign on Wednesday, mentioned forward of the vote they supported taking the case to committee.
Rep. Michael Lawler (RN.Y.), who mentioned in an announcement this month that Santos “has misplaced the belief and help of his social gathering” and “ought to step down,” accused the Democrats of enjoying politics by pushing for a vote. for an exception as a substitute of letting the ethics committee take care of Santos. He mentioned he trusted the committee’s capability to “make a fast resolution on this matter to the satisfaction of your complete Congress.”
“By no means earlier than has a member of Congress from any social gathering been faraway from workplace with no legal conviction or referral – which is why I help efforts to deliver George Santos’ expulsion to the Ethics Committee,” he mentioned in an announcement. “If the Democrats have been critical about throwing him out, they’d be working with us to get a report and a referral from the Ethics Committee, to not suggest a political decision that has no probability of passing the Home.”
And Rep. Brandon Williams (RN.Y.) mentioned in an announcement Wednesday that he’s actively encouraging the GOP management and the Nassau County Republican Social gathering to “instantly discover and help a substitute for George.”
“George’s days within the Chamber are numbered,” William mentioned.
One other Republican from New York, member of the Home of Representatives. Nick LaLota gave the impression to be pissed off that his housemates did not need to oust Santos instantly.
Whereas I’d have most popular there have been sufficient votes to rule out the sociopath cheater, Congressman D’Esposito instructed the following best choice: take the matter to the Ethics Committee, the place we count on a outcome inside 60 days, and have the horrible liar go away. retired or expelled earlier than the August break,” Lalota mentioned in an announcement after the vote.
Whereas McCarthy and different Republicans within the Home of Representatives have argued that the Ethics Committee might rapidly proceed to analyze Santos, current precedent exhibits that will not be the case.
In current instances the place a member of the Home of Representatives has been criminally charged, the Division of Justice has requested that the Ethics Committee droop the investigation of that member.
Examples embody Ethics Committee investigations into former representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), who resigned final yr after being discovered responsible of mendacity by the FBI; Chris Collins (RN.Y.), who was sentenced to 26 months in jail in 2020 for collaborating in an insider buying and selling scheme and mendacity to the FBI; and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), who was sentenced to 5 years in jail in 2017 on fraud fees.
In all these instances, the DOJ requested the Ethics Committee to “postpone consideration” of points associated to the then legislators.
Talking to Democratic reporters exterior the Capitol minutes earlier than the vote, Garcia mentioned he would proceed to push for Santos’s removing from the Home of Representatives, “though [Republicans are] making an attempt this maneuver.
“He should not be in Congress,” he mentioned.
Azi Paybara, Camila DeChalus and Marianne Sotomayor contributed to this report.