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Group of New York Republicans move to expel George Santos from House

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Washington — A group of New York Republicans is seeking to expel GOP Rep. George Santos from the House, one day after the New York congressman was hit with new federal charges accusing him of identity theft, credit card fraud and more.

“Today, I’ll be introducing an expulsion resolution to rid the People’s House of [a] fraudster, George Santos,” GOP Rep. Anthony D’Esposito wrote on social media on Wednesday. He said the measure is being co-sponsored by Reps. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams.

Santos pleaded not guilty earlier this year to a slew of charges from an original indictment that included accusations of an alleged scheme to defraud prospective supporters of his 2022 congressional campaign. The charges unsealed Tuesday allege he falsified campaign finance reports and used the personal information of donors for his financial benefit. He has denied all the charges and is due in court on Oct. 27.

Under the Constitution, any member of the House can be expelled with a vote of two-thirds of lawmakers. House Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to expel Santos in May, instead voting to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation.

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What are the new charges against Santos?

Rep. George Santos leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023.  / Credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York unsealed a superseding indictment with the 10 new charges on Tuesday. Prosecutors alleged that Santos and ex-campaign treasurer Nancy Marks submitted false financial reports to the Federal Election Commission that inflated the campaign’s fundraising numbers in an effort to qualify for certain perks, benefits, and support from Republican Party leaders.

The indictment also included fresh allegations that Santos used individuals’ personal credit card information to make unauthorized charges in support of his political campaign. The victims, according to the charges, were previous donors to the campaign who had provided their personal information when contributing funds to Santos.

In one instance, the court documents revealed Santos allegedly racked up $15,800 in charges on a contributor’s credit card, a sum far higher than federal campaign laws permit. That donor “did not know of or authorize charges exceeding such limits,” prosecutors said.

What has Santos said?

Santos vehemently denied the new charges and maintained his innocence, vowing to fight the accusations “until the bitter end.”

Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning, Santos walked through several of the counts against him. He claimed he did not know who the donors in question are and is working to determine their identities.

“What infuriates me the most, because these are the people who made it possible for me to be here,” Santos explained. “Why would I want to hurt the same people who went out of their way to get me here?”

Santos claimed that he had people on retainer to make sure “none of these shenanigans were happening” and would investigate some of his vendors and contractors and “pursue them on a later day” to try to recoup any misused funds. He acknowledged “an absolute systematic dereliction of duty across my entire campaign.”

He continued to heap blame on the ex-treasurer of his campaign, Nancy Marks, who pleaded guilty last Thursday to conspiracy to defraud. She admitted to fraudulently reporting hundreds of thousands in fake loans that Santos had claimed he made to his campaign. She said she and Santos had included nonexistent donations from his friends and family to falsely inflate his campaign’s fundraising totals to qualify for help from a Republican national party committee.

Will the expulsion resolution succeed?

It was not immediately clear if the new charges had tipped the balance among Republicans who opposed kicking Santos out in May. Santos fell out of favor with many New York Republican elected officials long ago, although several other GOP members of Congress from the Empire State were notably absent from the list of co-signers to this latest expulsion attempt.

The lack of a permanent House speaker adds another complication for proponents of expelling Santos. House business is effectively on hold until a new speaker is elected. Republican lawmakers met behind closed doors earlier Wednesday to select Rep. Steve Scalise as their nominee for the role, but his narrow victory of 113 to 99 for Rep. Jim Jordan is an indication that he could face a lengthy floor battle to reach a majority in the full House.

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