Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Santos expelled from Congress in historic vote

(BBC News) The U.S. House of Representatives has expelled congressman George Santos, following a damning ethics report and dozens of criminal charges.

“To hell with this place,” Santos told reporters as he left the Capitol.

The New York Republican is only the sixth lawmaker in history to be removed from the lower chamber of Congress, and the first since 2002.

His tenure was marked by multiple lies about his past and allegations of fraud – all revealed after his election.

Friday’s was the third attempt to oust Santos after two votes failed.

The 35-year-old from Queens made a quick exit from the Capitol before the vote ended as its outcome became clear, rushing past a swarm of reporters and into a waiting SUV.

“As unofficially already no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question from you guys,” he said.

Lawmakers backed the expulsion resolution 311 to 114, with 206 Democrats and 105 Republicans voting in favour.

Scattered applause was heard across the House chamber after the measure was adopted.

Santos later said he would on Monday file ethics complaints against several of his House colleagues over what he argued were campaign finance violations and questionable stock trading.

Over 11 months in office, Santos faced an endless stream of controversy and countless calls to resign from members of both parties.

His troubles began shortly after winning election to the House in November 2022, when the New York Times reported he had lied about a Wall Street career, his college degrees, and having Jewish ancestry.

Since then, the allegations have only piled up. He has been accused of a range of fabrications, from scamming Amish dog breeders in Pennsylvania to claiming his mother died in the 9/11 terror attacks.

In May, he was charged with 23 felonies, including wire fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds. He denies the allegations and is awaiting trial.

The final blow came last month, when the House ethics committee found he had exploited “every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

Among its many allegations, the panel accused him of spending campaign money on Botox treatments, credit card debt, OnlyFans – a platform where users pay for content, including pornography – and trips to the Hamptons seaside enclave in New York.

Expulsion votes are rare in Congress and require the backing of two-thirds of the House.

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