The House Ethics Committee’s GOP chair on Friday released his proposal to expel George Santos from the House, setting up what could prove a decisive intra-party clash over the disgraced New Yorker when Republicans return to Washington after Thanksgiving.
Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) made his move one day after the Ethics panel released damning bipartisan findings from a lengthy investigation, reporting “substantial evidence” of criminal wrongdoing by Santos along with violations of House rules and other misconduct by the fabrication-prone first-year Republican lawmaker.
Guest in turn told POLITICO after the Ethics report’s release that he would push to expel Santos from Congress in light of its findings. Still, he did not take steps Friday that would formally start the clock for a vote. The Mississippi conservative said he intends to make his measure privileged, which he is expected to do when the House returns in late November. That would trigger a floor vote within two days’ time.
“The evidence uncovered in the Ethics Committee’s Investigative Subcommittee investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment, is expulsion,” Guest wrote in a statement accompanying his resolution. “So, separate from the Committee process and my role as Chairman, I have filed an expulsion resolution.”
Guest’s five-page expulsion resolution reiterates the various findings in the Ethics report, including that Santos falsely reported loans to his campaign which he allegedly used for personal purposes, that he failed to either file or properly file financial disclosures, and that he failed to demonstrate necessary candor with the committee.
Santos, who has publicly attacked the bipartisan probe, announced after the panel released its findings that he wouldn’t run for reelection — despite previously vowing to do so. He has also announced a press conference on Nov. 30, two days after Congress begins its next session in Washington, with no disclosed subject matter.
Many House Republicans believe Santos plans to announce his resignation, though others admit they simply hope he will do so on Nov. 30 to take his personal drama off of GOP plates that are already chock-full of other beef. While multiple Republicans have said they want to review the report before making a decision on expulsion, the number of members ready to push out Santos are steadily growing — enough to raise real concerns in the New Yorker’s camp that he may be booted if he doesn’t voluntarily leave office.
If Guest’s expulsion resolution does come to a vote later this month, it would require two-thirds of the House to vote for Santos’ ouster. Some Republicans don’t want to take that step until there is a conviction, but Santos’ trial on 23 federal charges isn’t set to begin until late 2024.
“Wish he would do the nice thing and resign,” said one House Republican, who plans to vote to expel the New Yorker at the next opportunity. “Would be the first respectable move he’s made since arriving.’