Republican Congressman George Santos (NY), a compulsive liar who claimed his grandparents fled the Holocaust and allegedly used his campaign funds to pay for X-rated subscriptions, got no third time lucky on Friday when the House of Representatives voted 311-114 to make him only the sixth lawmaker ever to be expelled.
The House Ethics Committee found that he had violated federal criminal law. The vote marked the third attempt to oust Santos less than a year into his term.
Santos, 35, is accused of running his political career on lies and committing fraud with his campaign funds. Although Santos has not yet been convicted of a crime, he has been charged with 13 counts of fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds for allegedly illegally collecting US$ 24,000 from the unemployment fund.
Leaving the legislative building, the son of Brazilian immigrants told the media that his colleagues' decision sets a new and dangerous precedent.
Every member expelled in the history of this institution has been convicted of a crime or a Confederate traitor guilty of treason. Neither of those apply to me, but here we are, Santos said Thursday. On what basis does this body feel that the precedent needs to be changed for me - an American citizen, duly elected, elected to represent the 3rd District of New York?
He had also warned his Congressional colleagues that sacking him will haunt them in the future, where mere allegations are sufficient to have members removed from Congress, when duly elected by their people in their respective states and districts.
Santos has been accused of several crimes in recent years. According to an internal House Ethics Committee report, the Republican allegedly took US$ 200,000 of his campaign funds for personal use. His long list of lies put him in the spotlight: he assured that his grandparents had fled the Holocaust, that his mother was a survivor of the attack on the Twin Towers, and even claimed to be Jewish. His resume is also said to contain numerous inaccuracies”, such as his alleged work experience on Wall Street or his studies at New York University (NYU). His numerous false claims to enhance his persona led to a public apology for lying about his academic and professional background. He also left unresolved fraud cases in Brazil, from which he reportedly fled unharmed.
According to a 56-page dossier, Santos transferred about US$ 200,000 to his personal accounts last year through a shell company. He allegedly used the money to pay for his personal credit cards, luxury items, and subscriptions to the adult content platform OnlyFans, as well as expensive meals and travel. According to US Attorney Breon Peace, Santos inflated the campaign's reported receipts with nonexistent, fabricated or stolen loans and contributions.