George Santos expelled from Congress in historic vote

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George Santos expelled from Congress in historic vote

After a damning ethics report, and as he faces dozens of criminal charges, the US House of Representatives has expelled Congressman George Santos.

The New York Republican is only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled 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 was the third effort to oust Mr Santos after two previous failed votes.

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

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

“To hell with this place,” CNN reported he added before ducking into a waiting SUV parked at the Capitol steps.

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

Scattered applause was heard on both sides of the House chamber after the motion was adopted.

Over 11 months in office, Mr Santos has faced an endless stream of controversy and countless calls to resign from both Democrats and his fellow Republicans.

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.

But the final blow came last month, when the House ethics committee found he “blatantly stole from his campaign” and 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.

Two previous efforts to remove Mr Santos failed, after some lawmakers suggested he deserved due process and that it would set a bad precedent to remove someone over allegations.

A group of four New York Republicans, who were elected alongside Mr Santos and have long sought to give him the boot, disputed that.

“The precedent that is set is that we hold members of Congress to a higher standard,” said one, Anthony D’Esposito. “The people of New York’s third congressional district need representation.”

Lawmakers can finally “stop talking about him”, Mr D’Esposito added. “It shouldn’t have come to this.”

“He should have held himself accountable. He should have resigned,” he said.

Republican Jim Jordan, who voted against the expulsion, told the BBC he worried about the move.

“Who’s next? You let due process play out. The voters elected him. You’ve got to be careful in taking a vote to kick out of Congress someone the voters sent to Congress,” he said.

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