Patricia A. O'Malley

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In the matter of George Santos.

Resolved, That, pursuant to article I, section 5, clause 2

of the Constitution of the United States,

Representative George Santos, be, and he hereby is,

expelled from the House of Representatives.

Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting    ~    Community Matters
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Established 1993

How to Expel a Congressperson
George Santos is in rare company.
​February 18, 2023

Freshman Congress member George Santos (R-NY) began making a name for himself right after his election in November.  Now, there’s an effort to banish him from Congress.  It will surely be a remarkable spectacle.

Since the first Congress in 1790, only  five House members have been expelled:  three for supporting the Confederacy and two for bribery.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) intro H. Res 114  to expel Santos on February 9.  There are six cosponsors, from five  states. 

It was referred to the House Ethics Committee.  There’s been no further action to date.
The entire text of the Resolution is:


That’s all.
Meanwhile, Santos has been working.  You can see a complete list of his congressional activity at the link below.

There are two reasons to consider expelling Santos:  lies and theft.
Since the beginning of his campaign, he has Lied about his name, family history, heritage, religion, marital status, education, work history, campaign donors, mother’s death, etc.  More allegations arise nearly every day.

The FBI is investigating claims that Santos stole money from a Go Fund Me account intended for medical treatment for a disabled veteran’s sick dog.  The Federal Election Commission reports multiple campaign finance violations. 

There is also a claim that he stole puppies from an Amish puppy mill.

He just presents too many headaches and distractions.  His colleagues and the public can’t trust him in the future. 

Regardless of what the House does, the financial matters might be the breaking point, and could lead to criminal charges.

According to the Ethics Committee website,
All House staff are required to take at least one hour of ethics training every year.

New staff are required to complete training within 60 days of their start date.
So he can’t use ignorance as an excuse.

The US Constitution gives each chamber of Congress – House and Senate - the power to “… determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

(Article I. Section 5. Clause 2)

  • A reprimand is the lowest level punishment and  occurs with a formal, public, majority vote of the House (218 members).
  • More serious offenses receive a censure and are handled similarly to a reprimand.
  • Expulsion is for the most serious violations and removes the member from office immediately. 
    It requires a two-thirds vote – 290 – to succeed.

Members of Congress can not be impeached by their colleagues or recalled by the public.

The House and Senate have separate, but similar, Rules of Procedure and Ethics Committees.  According to the Rules, the Ethics Committee will consider this proposal and can recommend that the full House vote on expulsion, or not.
However, House Speaker Kevin  McCarthy (R-CA) has the power to schedule a House floor vote, or to ignore it.
If the  House votes to expel, Santos will be gone.  There is no appeal to a higher power.

The rules, legality, and process are reasonably straightforward.  Reality makes it sticky.

  • If McCarthy refuses to hold a vote and Santos remains, Congress has to tolerate him until at least the end of 2024. 
  • If he’s re-elected then, we’ll get to keep him for another two years. 
  • If they do vote, the members can always decline to punish Santos at all. 
    Given the current political climate, that’s a strong possibility.

  • If the House reprimands or censures Santos, he keeps his seat but he won’t change, and his conduct will likely continue. Then we’ll all be back here again in another two years.

If the House does expel him, New York Governor Kathy Hochul will schedule a special election to replace him within the next few months.  Kevin McCarthy does not want to gamble on losing a Republican seat. We’ll see how much public pressure he can take.

If the House expels Santos, his office will likely remain open to provide services to constituents until a replacement arrives.

It’s interesting that neither family nor friends have come forward to defend Santos.
I wish I could tell you what to expect, but considering the personalities involved, your guess is as good as mine.
Unfortunately, the Republicans continue to produce deplorable history.

Read the Constitution
House of Representatives Rules
House Ethics Committee
House Resolution 114
US House of Representatives:  List of Individuals Expelled, Censured, or Reprimanded
Federal Election Commission
AP Report : FBI investigating Santos fundraiser for sick dog
George Santos House website
Santos congressional activity

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