George Santos is way from the primary member of Congress to be indicted whereas in workplace. Each chambers and each events have endured their share of scandals. In 2005, as an illustration, F.B.I. brokers found $90,000 hidden within the freezer of Consultant William Jefferson, who was underneath investigation for bribery. He refused to step down, wound up dropping his seat within the 2008 election, and was later sentenced to 13 years in jail. James Traficant was expelled from Congress in 2002 after being convicted of bribery and racketeering. Bob Ney resigned in 2006 due to his involvement in a federal bribery scandal.

However in a method, Mr. Santos is completely different from different members of Congress who’ve demonstrated ethical failures, moral failures, failures of judgment and blatant corruption and lawbreaking in workplace. What he did was to deceive the very voters who introduced him to workplace within the first place, undermining probably the most primary degree of belief between an citizens and a consultant. These misdeeds erode the religion within the establishment of Congress and the electoral system via which American democracy capabilities.

For that motive, Home Republican leaders ought to have acted instantly to guard that system by permitting a vote to expel Mr. Santos and becoming a member of Democrats in eradicating him from workplace. As a substitute — not eager to lose Mr. Santos’s essential vote — Speaker Kevin McCarthy pushed a measure to refer the matter to the Home Ethics Committee, infamous for its glacial tempo, and the Home voted predictably alongside social gathering strains on Wednesday afternoon to comply with that steering.

If the Home doesn’t reverse that vote underneath public strain, it’s incumbent on the Ethics Committee to conduct a well timed investigation and suggest expulsion to the complete Home, the place a two-thirds vote might be required to ship Mr. Santos again to Lengthy Island.

Mr. Santos was arrested and arraigned in federal court docket final week on 13 felony counts linked primarily to his 2022 Home marketing campaign. Mr. McCarthy and different members of the Republican management successfully shrugged, indicating that they might let the authorized course of “play itself out,” because the convention’s chair, Elise Stefanik, put it.

Along with expulsion, the Republican leaders have a number of official disciplinary measures they may pursue, resembling a proper reprimand or censure, however to date, they’ve accomplished little greater than categorical concern. Mr. McCarthy has a number of robust legislative fights looming, together with negotiations over the federal funds to keep away from a authorities default, and Mr. Santos’s removing would possibly imperil the G.O.P.’s slim majority. In impact, Mr. Santos’s unhealthy religion has made him indispensable.

His constituents believed he held sure {qualifications} and values, solely to study after Election Day that they’d been deceived. Now they haven’t any recourse till the following election.

The query, then, is whether or not Home Republican leaders and different members are keen to danger their credibility for a con man, somebody whose total lifestyle — his origin story, résumé, livelihood — relies on a endless sequence of lies. After all they shouldn’t be. They need to have demonstrated to the American folks that there’s a minimal moral normal for Congress and used the ability of expulsion to implement it. They need to have defined to voters that their dedication to democracy and public belief goes past their social gathering’s political objectives.

No less than some Republican lawmakers acknowledge what’s at stake and are talking out. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah reiterated his view that Mr. Santos ought to do the honorable factor and step apart, saying, “He ought to have resigned a very long time in the past. He is a humiliation to our social gathering. He is a humiliation to america Congress.”

Equally, Anthony D’Esposito and Mike Lawler, each representing districts in New York, are amongst a number of Home Republicans advocating his resignation. Consultant Tony Gonzales of Texas has gone a step additional, calling for Mr. Santos’s expulsion and a particular election to interchange him. “The folks of New York’s third district deserve a voice in Congress,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Gonzales will get on the coronary heart of the matter. Mr. Santos has proven contempt for his constituents and for the electoral course of. Mr. McCarthy and the opposite Republican Home leaders owe People extra.