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Measure to censure Rep. Santos introduced in House

Simple majority would be required

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces another measure by colleagues to sanction him.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces another measure by colleagues to sanction him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., faces another attempt from Democrats to hold him accountable in the chamber, this time with a censure resolution.

The censure resolution, introduced by Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., on Monday, says Santos “repeatedly lied to voters in his district, donors, and the American public during his campaign to be elected to Congress.”

The measure goes on to mention that Santos “deliberately misrepresented his educational background by falsely claiming he received a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College and a master’s degree from New York University,” and that he “lied about being a member of the Jewish faith during his Congressional campaign and deliberately misrepresented that his grandparents survived the Holocaust.”

Santos was indicted in May on federal charges that include stealing campaign funds and spending them on designer clothes, fraudulently obtaining over $24,000 in unemployment benefits and lying on House financial disclosure filings. Shortly after that indictment was unveiled, House Democrats tried to expel Santos, but the expulsion resolution was referred to the Ethics Committee.

“If you are a member of Congress who has condemned Rep. Santos or called for him to resign, then you should have no issue in voting to formally censure him for defrauding the people of the United States and disgracing our institution,” Torres said in a statement. “In particular, my message to House Republicans, who, for too long, have been protecting Rep. Santos, is to stop treating him as untouchable. The time has come for Congress to hold him accountable.”

Torres’ spokesperson said the resolution was formally introduced.

The House Ethics Committee is currently investigating Santos and has issued more than 30 subpoenas and over 40 voluntary requests for information. Although it has historically paused investigations until the completion of a Justice Department prosecution, the Ethics panel has continued investigating in the Santos matter.

While expulsion requires a two-thirds majority, a simple majority is needed to censure a member. Censure is the second-harshest punishment available for lawmakers to levy on their colleagues, but in practice, it amounts to a short, public shaming in the well of the House while the speaker reads the language of the resolution.

In a statement, Santos said Democrats “have completely lost focus on the work they should be doing.”

“My record proves that my office is hard at work, serving constituents and crafting keen legislation. The Republican majority is also working hard to get the country back on track and clean up the mess left behind by destructive one-party Democrat rule,” Santos said. “It is time to stop the political ping-pong and get real work done.”

Last month, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., was censured for “misleading the American public and for conduct unbecoming of an elected Member of the House of Representatives.” Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., was censured in 2021 for posting online an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Before that, the most recent member to be censured was Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., in 2010.

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