Photo: Jabin Botsfordages/The Washington Post via Getty Im
The House Ethics Committee report on George Santos’s alleged corruption, full of salacious details like the representative using campaign money for Botox and OnlyFans, was so bad for him that he announced on Thursday that he would not seek reelection next year.
But Santos might not make it even that far. On Friday, the day after the report was released, House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest filed a resolution to expel him for what the motion describes as his “egregious violations” of federal law.
House Republicans have tried all this before. Just two weeks ago, fellow New York Republicans led an effort to expel Santos, which ended in a failed 179 to 213 vote — with 24 Republicans voting to remove him from office. But the report claiming that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect” of his campaign may cause some of those nay votes to go the other way. At least 19 Democrats who did not vote to expel Santos said they will vote to oust him this time, and at least eight Republicans are in the same boat. That number is likely to grow over the coming days. “I did not vote in the past to expel George because I didn’t believe there was due process,” Representative Ken Buck explained on MSNBC. “I think he’s been given the fair due process now.”
Still, Santos’s expulsion is by no means guaranteed, since it requires a House supermajority of 290 votes. Last time around, 31 Democrats voted against expelling Santos, while 15 Democrats and four Republicans voted present. Even if that entire 50-person group switched over to Team Expulsion, they would still be 61 votes short of the quota. But with new evidence of his antics — and a trial looming next year, in which he faces 23 counts including money laundering and wire fraud — the upcoming vote could be a convenient opportunity for Republicans to ditch their messiest colleague.
Despite all the evidence against Santos, it is still possible that Republican leadership will urge the caucus to keep him around, given their small majority and divided ranks. “We have no margin for error,” Speaker Mike Johnson said in October. “And so, George Santos is due due process, right?” Following the report this week, the Speaker, who has a few of his own financial irregularities, hedged a bit, issuing a statement encouraging “all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further.” With the House in recess, the earliest date for the vote would be November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Might Santos make it easier for Republicans and just quit? Late on Thursday night, he tweeted self-pityingly about his “year from hell” and announced that he would hold a press conference on November 30 on the Capitol steps. The setting suggests a grand statement, but given his history, he’s more likely to go on the attack than to go at least somewhat quietly.