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Another push to remove Santos from House, this time from some Republicans

First-term New Yorkers cite latest indictment in calling for ouster

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House Republican Conference speaker candidate forum on Tuesday.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House Republican Conference speaker candidate forum on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Corrected 2:23 p.m. | A group of first-term New York Republicans said Wednesday they will push to expel fellow New York Rep. George Santos from Congress, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing chaos surrounding the chamber’s leadership.

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., told reporters that the group plans to introduce a privileged resolution to oust Santos from the House, a measure that would require a two-thirds majority.

A superseding indictment unveiled Tuesday charged Santos with another 10 criminal counts tied to the 2022 election, adding to an original 13-count indictment filed in May. The new charges allege Santos filed fraudulent fundraising reports and repeatedly charged donor credit cards without permission.

“After the latest indictment, I think it’s clear that he’s not fit to serve in the House of Representatives, he’s a stain on the institution, and that’s why the New York freshmen have come together,” D’Esposito said. “He also is a stain on our state.”

In a social media post about the move “to rid the People’s House of fraudster, George Santos,” D’Esposito listed as co-sponsors as New York Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams.

All of them voted in May to send a Democrat-backed effort to oust Santos to the House Ethics Committee, part of a 221-204 party line vote on the resolution.

This new resolution comes as the House is deciding who should become speaker. With Democrats saying they will unanimously back their leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, a divided Republican conference would have to unite to pick a speaker, and Santos’ vote could be decisive.

Standing outside the room where the party was meeting to vote on its nominee for speaker, D’Esposito acknowledged that the race for speaker “is defined by a few other things” but called the Santos’ expulsion “a big priority for us.”

“And we will see how the folks running for speaker react to what we just said,” D’Esposito said.

LaLota told reporters that the group had not had any conversations about removing Santos from the party conference before a vote on the speaker.

“The sooner he’s gone the better, whether that is conference or Congress that may be something we discuss,” Lalota said.

Santos has been under investigation, including from the House Ethics Committee, since shortly after entering Congress.

D’Esposito told reporters that the latest indictment made clear the House could not wait until the criminal case, or even the Ethics Committee process, resolves.

The Ethics Committee first opened an investigation into Santos in February and expanded its probe in June following the first indictment.

Last week, a former campaign treasurer pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge related to the election. In a criminal information filed in federal court, prosecutors said Nancy Marks of New York worked with Santos on a “fraudulent scheme” to submit false reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, LaLota said the latest indictment was a “new criteria,” along with Marks’ guilty plea, that colleagues could use as justification for ousting Santos.

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that vulnerable Republicans may now be trying to gain political cover for the 2024 elections after using Santos’ vote for months in the closely divided chamber.

“I hope they are not just playing politics with this because they know their seats are on the line,” Meeks said.

Still, Meeks said Santos should go. “Through the body, through the courts or through the election, Santos won’t be here,” Meeks said.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said he and other party leaders believe Santos should have been expelled during the May vote.

Aguilar also did not say whether Democrats would support the resolution from the New York Republicans.

“I understand some of them may want a redo. That’s not where we are,” Aguilar said. “We will see what the floor activity is on an expulsion resolution.”

This report was revised to correctly identify Rep. Gregory W. Meeks.

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