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Six GOP lawmakers want to expel scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos

Six New York Republican lawmakers said Wednesday that they will ask the House to expel scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), a day after an indictment was unsealed showing Santos is facing additional federal charges for allegedly stealing the identities of campaign donors and using donors’ credit cards to spend thousands of dollars.

Shortly after he was elected in 2022, Santos admitted to fabricating key parts of his biography. The new charges Tuesday came five months after the freshman lawmaker was charged with a host of other financial crimes. He has pleaded not guilty to the initial charges and publicly denied the new ones.

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), who announced the expulsion plan, represents a district on Long Island near Santos’s district, which includes parts of Nassau and Queens counties. D’Esposito said the resolution would be co-sponsored by fellow New York Republican freshmen Reps. Nick LaLota, Michael Lawler, Marcus J. Molinaro, Nicholas A. Langworthy and Brandon Williams.

The move is the latest by New York Republicans to distance themselves from Santos, whose brief tenure in politics has been marred by a parade of criminal allegations.

House Republicans more broadly have been less willing to penalize Santos. With such a narrow majority in the chamber, Republican leaders have been hesitant to expel one of their own. And without a House speaker, Santos cannot be expelled immediately, since no one is empowered to bring the new resolution to the House floor.

“If they want to be judge, jury [and executioner], so be it,” Santos said Wednesday as he rushed down the hallway where Republicans were meeting.

Later, in a statement, Santos dismissed the resolution as evidence that his colleagues were prioritizing “their campaigns over the essential work that needs to be done.” Santos went on to say that expulsion before being “found guilty from a criminal investigation will set a dangerous precedent” and will “erase the voices of the electorate.”

Santos did confess in May to a theft charge brought years earlier by prosecutors in Brazil, where Santos had spent time as a teenager.

Today, I’ll be introducing an expulsion resolution to rid the People’s House of fraudster, George Santos. The resolution will be co-sponsored by fellow #NewYork freshman @RepLaLota @RepMikeLawler @RepMolinaroNY19 @RepLangworthy @RepWilliams.

Our statement will follow.

— Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (@RepDesposito) October 11, 2023

In January, after allegations against Santos surfaced, House Republican leaders chose to seat him on two committees dealing with science and small businesses. Weeks later, Santos met with House leaders and announced he would step down from those committees, saying the decision was voluntary. In March, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the allegations against him.

In May, a resolution to expel Santos was introduced by a Democrat from California and blocked by Republicans, who steered the matter to the Ethics Committee.

The latest federal charges against Santos were filed shortly after Nancy Marks, the treasurer for the Santos campaign, pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy and implicated Santos in a scheme to embellish his campaign finance reports with a fake loan and fake donors.

In May, the New York Republican was charged with 13 counts related to allegedly defrauding his donors, using their money for his personal benefit and wrongfully claiming unemployment benefits. On Tuesday, a superseding indictment added 10 additional charges of fraud and identity theft against Santos.

Santos was elected to an open and newly drawn congressional seat in 2022. Before he was sworn in, the New York Times revealed that key parts of his résumé were fraudulent.

Santos subsequently admitted to lying about his education and employment background. Later, The Washington Post and other outlets revealed a pattern of financial allegations in Santos’s background, from his lengthy ties to a company accused of running a Ponzi scheme to allegedly pocketing money he raised to help a homeless veteran’s dying service dog.

Santos is expected to face a difficult reelection campaign. Already several Republicans have announced plans to challenge him in a primary, as have a handful of Democrats — including his immediate predecessor, former congressman Thomas Suozzi.

Mariana Alfaro and Anumita Kaur contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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