House Republican leaders avoided an on-the-record vote on whether GOP Rep. George Santos should be expelled, instead holding a vote to move the Democratic-proposed resolution to the House Ethics Committee.
The full House adopted the Republican motion by a party-line vote of 221-204, with seven members voting present.
Congressman Tom Kean voted to protect serial liar Santos just a week after the New York Republican was indicted on 13 counts by federal prosecutors and admitted guilt to criminal charges in Brazil.
House Democrats introduced a privileged resolution to expel Santos from Congress on Tuesday to ensure the people of New York’s Third Congressional District have a voice in Congress.
Kean and a majority of House Republicans voted to refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, thereby delaying accountability for voters in his district.
“Tom Kean Jr. voted to protect the lies, deceit, and disgrace of George Santos in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Democratic spokesperson Tommy Garcia. “Kean Jr. is too weak to stand up to his Washington party bosses – and New Jerseyans will remember.”
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who represents a district that neighbors Santos’, offered the motion to refer in a blistering speech that condemned his fellow Republican as “a stain on this institution, a stain on the state of New York, a stain on Long Island and a stain on the beloved Nassau County” but his motion to refer expulsion to the notoriously slow-moving Ethics Committee only serves to protect the serial liar for the remainder of his term.
“I am personally in favor of this individual’s expulsion from this House,” said D’Esposito in a floor speech. “Regrettably, though, I’m in the understanding that we currently do not have the two-thirds support from members in this House to expel that individual.”
In a letter to McCarthy on Thursday, Garcia quoted the Speaker, who told reporters earlier this week that he wants the Ethics Committee to “move rapidly” in its investigation of Santos.
“Given your promises of swift action by the Ethics Committee, I hope that you will clarify the timeline by which we can expect the Ethics Committee to ‘move rapidly’ so that the House can take a transparent vote on whether Mr. Santos deserves to continue to serve as a member of this body,” wrote Garcia.
The move to refer the expulsion resolution to the Ethics Committee is redundant because the panel has been investigating into Santos since March, when it launched a probe into whether he engaged in unlawful activity during his 2022 campaign and failed to properly disclose information to the House, among other questions.
Santos has been under mounting scrutiny since before he was sworn into office amid questions about his background and finances. Last week, prosecutors indicted him on 13 federal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
He is accused of misleading campaign donors, fraudulently receiving COVID-19 unemployment benefits and disclosing false information on financial forms.
The congressman pleaded not guilty.
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