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US House votes to expel George Santos from Congress

Source The Ghana Report

After a damning ethics report, fraud charges and lies about his past, the US House of Representatives has expelled Congressman George Santos.

Lawmakers voted 311 to 114 to oust the disgraced lawmaker.

He has been accused of using campaign money for luxury expenses such as Botox and stealing charity money for a veteran’s dying service dog.

The 35-year-old from Queens is only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled from Congress.

His ouster comes after the House ethics committee released a report that found he “blatantly stole from his campaign” and exploited “every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit”.

Among the many allegations in its final report, the panel accused him of spending campaign money on OnlyFans, a web porn site, and holidays in the Hamptons, an elite seaside enclave in New York state.

Expulsion votes are rare in Congress and require a two-thirds supermajority.

Mr Santos reportedly made a quick exit as the votes against him started to pour in, jumping straight into a waiting SUV without answering any questions.

After the resolution to expel Santos was adopted on Friday, there was scattered applause from both sides of the aisle.

He faces troubles outside of Washington DC as well. The 35-year-old has been charged with 23 federal felony counts, including wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds, as well as separate allegations of campaign finance violations.

Prosecutors have alleged he spent campaign funds to enrich himself and used “repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress”.

His trouble started shortly after winning an election in November 2022 to represent New York’s 3rd congressional district. The New York Times published an investigation in December that revealed Mr Santos had lied about a Wall Street career, a college degree and having Jewish ancestry.

Since then, allegations against the lawmaker have continued to pile up. He has been accused of a range of fabrications and fraud schemes, including scamming Amish dog breeders in Pennsylvania and claiming his mother died in the 9/11 terror attacks.

The scandals swirling around the lawmaker have pulled off the rare feat of uniting lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as they came together to have him removed.

Mr Santos had remained defiant, refusing to resign despite many calls from both sides of the aisle to step down.

“This place is run on hypocrisy,” he told reporters earlier this week before the vote. “If they want me to leave Congress, they’re going to have to take that tough vote.”

What happens next?

Mr Santos has said he would leave the Capitol right away if expelled.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has 10 days to call for an election, which would take place 70 to 80 days later.

The ouster and special election could further pare down Republicans’ narrow nine-seat House majority. There is no guarantee another Republican will win the congressional seat he holds, which was easily won by Joe Biden in the 2020 general election.

Mr Santos loses the ability to vote on legislation immediately.

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