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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
George Santos leaves the U.S. Capitol after the House voted to expel him from Congress
george santos

'Crook' congressman George Santos expelled from US House of Representatives

Santos has become notorious for a series of bizarre fabrications, including claiming to be Jewish and having been a college volleyball star.

US LAWMAKERS TODAY voted to expel George Santos, the scandal-plagued politician who lied his way into Congress and has been indicted on charges of bankrolling his lavish lifestyle with stolen donor cash.

One of the most colourful but controversial figures in the 234-year history of the House of Representatives, the New York Republican is only the third person to join Washington’s rogues gallery of ejected lawmakers since the Civil War.

He swept into the House in 2022, helping the Republicans grab a tiny majority, but it quickly emerged that almost his entire backstory was a fabrication, from his education and religion to his personal history and professional experience.

Santos, 35, has been indicted on dozens of federal charges of stealing from campaign donors, credit card fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

But he was ultimately doomed by a congressional ethics investigation that found “overwhelming evidence” of misconduct and accused him of seeking to “fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy.”

“You sir, are a crook,” said Ohio’s Max Miller, one of several members of Santos’s own party to stand up on the House floor to denounce him in a debate on the expulsion on Thursday.

“My future former colleague is divorced from reality. He has manufactured his entire life,” said Marc Molinaro, a fellow New York Republican, while another member from the state’s delegation Anthony D’Esposito called Santos a “liar.”

rep-george-santos-r-n-y-emerges-from-the-house-chamber-after-the-house-passed-a-resolution-to-expel-him-from-congress-at-the-u-s-capitol-dec-1-2023-francis-chungpolitico-via-ap-images Alamy Stock Photo George Santos emerges from the House chamber after the House passed a resolution to expel him from Congress Alamy Stock Photo

Santos, who has denied his criminal charges, allegedly used donor money for Botox treatments and the OnlyFans porn website, as well as luxury Italian goods and vacations to the Hamptons and Las Vegas, according to the committee.

A two-thirds majority of the House was needed to expel him, and while two previous attempts failed, the ethics report was enough to sway many of his defenders, and he was ousted in an overwhelming vote supported by more than 100 of his fellow Republicans.

Bizarre fabrications

Aside from the criminal allegations, Santos has become notorious for a series of bizarre fabrications, including claiming to have worked for Goldman Sachs, being Jewish and having been a college volleyball star.

Beyond accusing the ethics committee of a “smear campaign,” he has not publicly addressed the accusations in any detail.

He is the sixth House member to be expelled since Congress began deliberating in 1789 and the first since 2002, when Ohio Democrat James Traficant was ousted over a bribery conviction.

Republicans hold only a four-seat edge in the House and giving away one of those – with Democrats likely to recapture it in a special election – will be a considerable headache for a party that has struggled to pass legislation.

There was considerable doubt ahead of the vote over whether it would get the required “super-majority,” with the Republican leadership declining to whip the rank-and-file either way.

Dozens of Republicans said they were reluctant to condemn a man who first deserves due process, although he is unlikely to have his day in court until next September – close to what would have been the end of his two-year term.

“Since the beginning of Congress, there’s only two ways you get expelled: You get convicted of a crime, or you participated in the Civil War. Neither apply to George Santos,” Florida’s Matt Gaetz said in a floor speech yesterday.

© AFP 2023 

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