The prospect of expelling Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from Congress has again surfaced in discussion after federal criminal charges against the first-term Congressman were unveiled this week. Santos is facing allegations including wire fraud, money laundering, and false statements to the House of Representatives, the last of which cover claims of misrepresentations in financial disclosure forms that were required in association with the multiple runs for Congress he has made.
Santos is even facing allegations of theft of public funds for receiving tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment assistance through New York state for which authorities’ case against Santos asserts he wasn’t eligible because of other employment. “The GOP Member of Congress purportedly known as George Santos is entitled to the presumption of innocence in a criminal court,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said this week. “The House of Representatives isn’t a court. Santos has brought shame to the House. I urge GOP @SpeakerMcCarthy to allow a floor vote to expel Santos.”
At this juncture, it seems only increasingly unlikely Santos would win another term in Congress anyway. Past polling undertaken amid revelations about the panoply of lies he has apparently told regarding his personal, family, educational, and business backgrounds already found majorities of his constituents opposing the idea of him in office. Three-quarters of respondents in that polling, which was done by Siena College for the Long Island publication Newsday, supported the idea of Santos resigning — and that was months ago, before the charges, in connection to which Santos could eventually face decades in prison if he’s found guilty, although maximum sentences under the law are often not met.
The allegations are wide-ranging, with the wire fraud claims connecting to an alleged scheme outlined by prosecutors involving Santos and another individual getting prospective supporters to send funds to a company Santos helmed under the idea it would support his campaign. Surprise! Prosecutors say it didn’t, with much of the money instead used for personal expenses tied to the Congressman. Republican leaders in the House including Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise already resisted the idea of imposing any serious consequences on Santos beyond the circumstances associated with his status quo. (Although he participates in legislation and can cast votes, he isn’t on any committees… because he withdrew himself.) Imagine for just a moment how these people would react if a Democratic politician was accused of defrauding the government for money.
The GOP Member of Congress purportedly known as George Santos is entitled to the presumption of innocence in a criminal court.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 10, 2023