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Tags: santos | bowman | ethics | expulsion | congress

Facing Ouster, Rep. Santos Takes Aim at Rep. Bowman

Thursday, 30 November 2023 10:44 AM EST

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., on Thursday struck a defiant note before an expected vote to expel him from Congress and lashed out at other lawmakers in what could be his final days on Capitol Hill.

"This is bullying," Santos said. "It's all theater."

Santos, 35, a first-term congressman, faces criminal campaign-finance charges and has admitted to fabricating much of his biography. His fellow Republicans scheduled a vote on his expulsion on Friday.

Santos survived one expulsion vote earlier this month, but faces longer odds this time. A bipartisan congressional probe released after the vote found evidence that he spent campaign money on Botox, luxury brands such as Hermes and on OnlyFans, an online platform known for sexual content.

Santos said he would file a "slew" of ethics complaints against other members of Congress and try to force an expulsion vote against Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., who pleaded guilty in October to setting off a fire alarm before a vote.

"This is just another meaningless stunt in his long history of cons, antics, and outright fraud," Bowman said in a statement.

Santos has said he will not run for reelection next year but has remained bellicose in the face of growing pressure that he step down. The drumbeat of scandal has left him isolated in Congress, where he sits on no committees and has little influence.

Santos predicted he would be forced out in Friday's vote and said he was proud of his record in Congress. "I wish I could do more, (but) if this is it, this is it," he said.

Without his seat, Republicans' already slim 222-213 majority would narrow further. His district, which includes parts of New York City and its Long Island suburbs, is seen as competitive.

An election to fill his seat would be held within three months, according to New York state law.

At least 77 Republicans will have to vote for expulsion, along with the chamber's 213 Democrats, to meet the two-thirds majority required under the U.S. Constitution.

Santos would be only the sixth member to be expelled from the House of Representatives, and the first who has not been convicted of a crime or fought for the Confederacy during the 1861-65 U.S. Civil War.

Santos' troubles began shortly after his November 2022 election, when media outlets reported that he had not actually attended New York University and worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, as he had claimed during the campaign.

He also falsely claimed Jewish heritage and told voters his grandparents had fled the Nazis during World War Two.

That made Santos a pariah in the House and the butt of television comedians even before federal prosecutors charged him with an array of fraud and campaign-finance crimes.

In a 23-count indictment, they accuse him of inflating his fundraising totals in order to draw more support from the Republican Party, laundering funds to pay for personal expenses, and charging donors' credits cards without permission.

Two former campaign aides have pleaded guilty to related fraud charges.

Santos denies wrongdoing, and his trial is scheduled for Sept. 9 shortly before the November elections that will determine control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., said he would file a "slew" of ethics complaints against other members of Congress and try to force an expulsion vote against Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.
santos, bowman, ethics, expulsion, congress
Thursday, 30 November 2023 10:44 AM
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