Just a few days after Rep. George Santos became only the sixth House member to be kicked out of Congress, the New York Republican started to try to capitalize on the infamy and get a bit of payback.
Santos, who no longer represents a district on Long Island, is offering personalized videos on Cameo for $200 a pop as a “Former congressional ‘Icon.’” Customers can select from a pep talk, a roast or other stylized messages from the disgraced politician.
“Botox keeps you young, fillers keeps you plump, mwah,” he said in one video. “If you have haters that means you’re doing something right, girl, so just keep going.”
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., posted on X that he had Santos do a cameo directed at Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is fighting federal bribery charges. In the video, Santos tells “Bobby” to “stand your ground” and encourages him not to “get bogged down by all the haters.”
He also went on a tirade on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, posting that he filed several ethics complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
He said three complaints were against his fellow New York Republicans who were vocal critics of his: Rep. Nicole Malliotakis for alleged improper stock trades, Rep. Mike Lawler for alleged campaign finance violations and Rep. Nick LaLota for an alleged “no-show” job.
Separately, Santos claimed he filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Rob Menendez, D-N.J., questioning his level of involvement in the bribery charges his father, Sen. Menendez, faces.
William Beaman, a spokesperson for the congressional ethics office, declined comment on whether Santos actually filed those complaints.
Santos himself still faces 23 criminal charges in federal court tied to various alleged schemes to defraud donors and the government, and he finds himself in rare company after the the 311-114 vote Friday.
Only 21 members have been pushed out in the history of the legislative branch: six from the House and 15 from the Senate. Three of the House members and all but one of the senators were on the grounds that they were disloyal to the United States by participating in the secession of the Confederate states during the Civil War, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Santos is the first person expelled from the House since 2002 and the only one of that group who wasn’t convicted of a crime or didn’t fight for the Confederacy.
Here are the other infamous House members who were deemed so cancerous that they had to be excised.
1861: Disloyalty to the Union
The first three House members to be expelled related to the Civil War. Few official House records online explain exactly why, other than brief biographical description. The members were:
- John B. Clark, D-Mo.: Disloyalty to the Union. Vote: 94-45.
- John W. Reid, D-Mo.: Disloyalty to the Union. No recorded vote.
- Henry C. Burnett, D-Ky.: Disloyalty to the Union. No recorded vote.
Clark and Reid were expelled for having “[T]aken up arms against” the U.S. government, and Burnett was kicked out for “[O]pen rebellion” against the U.S. government, according to a 2004 House committee summary of conduct cases.
Clark, a lawyer, was elected to the 35th Congress to replace Rep. James S. Green, who had resigned. He won reelection to the next two congresses, but the House voted to expel Clark for disloyalty to the Union on July 13, 1861.
Clark was a brigadier general of the Missouri Confederate state troops, a senator in the first Confederate congress and a representative in the second Confederate congress. He died in 1885.
Reid, a lawyer and a captain in the Mexican war, became a member of Congress in 1861. He was expelled on Dec. 2, 1861.
He was in the Confederate army and a volunteer aide to Confederate Gen. Sterling Price. Reid was appointed a commissioner to adjust claims against the Confederate government. He died in 1881.
Burnett, a lawyer, was first elected to the 34th Congress, which convened in 1855, and expelled on Dec. 3, 1861.
During the Civil War, he was colonel of the eighth regiment of the Kentucky infantry in the Confederate army. In 1861, he was president of the Kentucky southern conference and of the sovereignty convention in Russellville, Ky., which passed a secession ordinance and organized state government.
Burnett worked as a representative from Kentucky for the provisional Confederate congress from Nov. 18, 1861, until Feb. 17, 1862, when he was elected a Confederate senator. He died in 1866.
1980: Abscam fallout
Michael J. “Ozzie” Myers, D-Pa., who was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and Travel Act violations, was expelled in a 376-30 vote on Oct. 2, 1980.
Myers was caught in the Abscam sting operation — short for “Arab Scam” — where he, along with other House lawmakers and a senator, were convicted after taking cash bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks.
Myers took a $50,000 bribe and promised a representative of the sheiks to introduce bills in Congress to help the sheiks stay in the U.S. He was convicted in federal court in August of 1980 of conspiracy, bribery and violations of the Travel Act.
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct found that Myers was “sincere in his belief that he was dealing with persons willing to pay for his influence as a Representative, that he took money in return for promising to use that influence on their behalf and that he thereby acted corruptly, in violation of law, and in total disregard of his duties and obligations.”
While Myers was expelled, others convicted in the sting either resigned or lost reelection.
2002: Traficant is beamed up
Rep. James A. Traficant, D-Ohio, was expelled on July 22, 2002, on a 420-1 vote. This followed his conviction in April 2002 on several charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, illegal gratuities, racketeering, obstruction of justice and lying on tax returns.
Traficant directed his congressional staff to do work on his farm and boat on official time. He also engaged in business favors for construction contractors so they would improve his farm.
The day he was expelled, Traficant gave a meandering, impassioned speech railing against his prosecution. At times, he had to be reminded by the chair to not use “profanity or indecent language.”
Easily recognized on the floor by his grey toupee and often seen yelling “Beam me up!” borrowing a phrase from the TV series “Star Trek.” Traficant projected irrational confidence in his last speech to the House, saying he was running as an Independent, cautioning listeners: “Don’t be surprised if I don’t win behind bars.”
Traficant struck a defiant tone, saying “they couldn’t find one citizen to say Jim Traficant bought a pencil for cash. Now look, if you drink five gallons of Gatorade, you’re going to expend five gallons of Gatorade somewhere in one of these restrooms. You know what you have before you? We’re getting to the point where a RICO case is going to be brought against a group of housewives for conspiring to buy Kellogg’s cereal.”