The House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on whether to expel Rep. George Santos as he faces federal corruption charges and allegations that he stole funds from his campaign.
During a news conference, Santos acknowledged that the vote, which had been expected on Thursday, had been moved to Friday.
“We are due to go for round three of expulsion of congressman George Santos from NY-3,” he said Thursday.
“It’s just an unfortunate circumstance that I have to sit here and watch … Congress waste the American people’s time, over and over again.”
Santos has survived two other attempts to remove him from the House — one in May and another in early November. However, a report issued by the House Ethics Committee on Nov. 16, which found “substantial evidence that Representative Santos violated federal criminal laws,” renewed efforts to see the freshman lawmaker removed from his position.
On Thursday, Santos slammed the report, saying it was “littered in hyperbole” and “littered in opinion.”
“No decent cop would bring this to a prosecutor or a DA and say, ‘Here’s our report, go ahead and charge them,’” he said.
The House Ethics Committee said earlier this month that it had referred evidence of several alleged crimes to the Justice Department. Meanwhile, Santos is facing 23 federal charges, accused of using the credit cards of people who donated to his campaign without authorization, lying to federal officials and money laundering.
The House has voted to remove members five times before. Three congressmen were ousted in 1861 for fighting for the Confederacy while Rep. Michael Myers, D-Pa., was expelled in 1980 after a bribery conviction and Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, was removed in 2002 following a conviction on charges including racketeering and defrauding the U.S.
“If I am to get expelled tomorrow, I will be No. 6 in history,” Santos said Thursday, “the first Republican and the only one without a conviction or without … having committed treason.”
He warned about the precedent such a vote might set.
“That is going to be the undoing of a lot of members of this body because this will haunt them in the future, where mere allegations are sufficient to have members removed from office when duly elected by the people in their respective states and districts,” he said.
His comments echoed fears aired Wednesday by House Speaker Mike Johnson, who said that leaders of the Republican party have decided “to allow people to vote their conscience” in regard to Santos.
“I personally have real reservations about doing this,” the Louisiana Republican said. “I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos has pleaded not guilty to federal charges filed against him in New York. On Thursday, he said he also plans to address each of the allegations made against him by the House Ethics Committee — including claims that he “blatantly stole from his campaign” and “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit” — at a later date.
Earlier this month, Santos announced that he will not seek reelection to the House in 2024.