The US House of Representatives voted on Friday to expel Republican Congressman George Santos, who in recent months had been accused of a series of crimes including fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements. To expel a deputy from the Chamber you need the votes of at least two thirds of the chamber, and for this reason it is a very rare occurrence. But in the case of Santos, both Democrats and Republicans voted against him: 311 votes in favor of his expulsion, 114 against.
Santos is the sixth congressman to be expelled from the House in the history of the United States.
Santos has been at the center of numerous controversies since his election in November 2022, after several US newspapers reported how he had lied extensively about numerous aspects of his life and CV. In May he was then charged by the New York prosecutor’s office for 13 counts, which can be summarized in three accusations: the first is of having set up a fraudulent system for collecting electoral contributions which were then used for personal expenses. The second is that in June 2020 he applied for a government subsidy declaring himself unemployed, when in reality he was employed in an investment company in Florida with a salary of around 120 thousand dollars a year. The third is that he lied about his financial situation during the electoral campaign, overestimating his income and the profits obtained from the shares of a company registered in his name, the Devolder Organization. Santos has pleaded not guilty.
These accusations had led to two expulsion attempts, the last of which in early November, when however 182 of his Republican colleagues and 31 Democrats voted against his removal, arguing that it was necessary to wait for a conviction.
However, two weeks ago the House Ethics Committee – which deals with the standards of conduct of members of parliament – published a detailed report which cited “substantial evidence” that Santos violated a number of federal laws and which added new elements to the accusations already leveled against Santos.
In particular, the Commission found that Santos had debited his campaign account for thousands of dollars for private purchases, including spa treatments, Botox injections, designer clothes and subscriptions to OnlyFans, an online platform known for sexual content. This prompted several Republicans who had supported him in November to vote to expel him.