The final vote on the motion to refer the resolution to the Ethics Committee was 221-204. Seven legislators voted no. Rep. Susan Wild (Pa.), the top Democrat on the ethics committee, and four other Democrats on the committee voted “absent” on the bill, chaired by Michael Guest (R-Miss.). All GOP members of the committee and committee voted in favor of sending the resolution to their committee.
Santos also voted to recommend the resolution.
The matter is now in the hands of the House Ethics Committee, which has been investigating Santos since March and is looking into allegations about the new congressman, including his past business practices, campaign finance expenditures and allegations of sexual misconduct.
Efforts by Democrats to oust Santos from Congress came days after federal prosecutors charged him with 13 financial crimes, including defrauding his donors, using their money for his personal benefit and falsely claiming unemployment benefits.
In that case, Santos faces seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of lying to the House about financial forms. He pleaded guilty to all charges on May 10, denied criminal wrongdoing and called the legal investigations a “witch hunt”.
On Wednesday morning, Garcia described efforts by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to “cop-out” his motion to the ethics committee, which is already investigating Santos. At a news conference in the Capitol, Garcia listed several lies by Santos and urged Congress to quickly expel the new lawmaker, whom he described as “a disgrace to the House and the country.”
“Every Republican must stand up and join us in defending this body and expelling Jorge Santos,” he said.
Speaking to reporters as he left the Capitol after the vote, Santos thanked Republican leadership for pushing the vote to send the motion to the ethics committee.
“In this country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Santos said. “You cannot be judge, jury and executioner. I have a right to defend myself – a constitutional right – and I will.
If the ethics committee finds cause to fire him, “that’s the process,” Santos said.
Rep. Jorge Santos has pleaded not guilty to 13 financial crimes
In March, the ethics committee Voted Create a bipartisan subcommittee to investigate the claims about Santos.
In its March report, the ethics committee said so Work Santos, 34, “may have engaged in illegal activity in connection with his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information in congressional filings; violated federal conflict of interest laws regarding his role in a fiduciary services firm; and/or sexually harassed a job seeker in his congressional office.” Engaged.
On Tuesday, McCarthy rejected efforts by Democrats to remove Santos from the chamber, telling reporters that the matter should be handled by a bipartisan ethics committee.
“I think these allegations are very serious,” but “you have to go through the process,” McCarthy said Tuesday in Washington. “I don’t want to wait for the courts to act,” and the ethics committee can act “faster” than the courts, he said.
Several House Republicans, who called for Santos’ resignation on Wednesday, said before the vote that they supported sending the case to a committee.
Rep. Michael Lawler (RN.Y.) said in a statement this month that Santos had “lost the confidence and support of his party” and “should resign,” accusing Democrats of playing politics by pushing for an expulsion vote instead. Allowing Santos to handle the ethics committee. He said he was confident in the committee’s ability to “make a quick decision on this that would satisfy the entire body of Congress.”
“Never before has a member of Congress, of any party, been removed without a criminal conviction or referral — which is why I support the effort to refer the matter of George Santos’ expulsion to the Ethics Committee,” he said in a statement. “If Democrats were serious about ousting him, they would work with us to get a report and recommendation from the ethics committee, rather than offering a political resolution that has no chance of passing the House.”
and representative. Brandon Williams (RN.Y.) said in a statement Wednesday that he actively encourages GOP leadership and the Nassau County GOP to “immediately find and reverse George’s transition.”
“George’s days are numbered in the House,” said William.
Another New York Republican representative. Nick Lalotta was disappointed that his House colleagues were not ready to oust Santos immediately.
“While I wish there were enough votes to oust this anti-social fraud artist, Congressman D’Esposito has presented the next best option: We expect a decision within 60 days to send this matter to the ethics committee and let the terrible liars go by resignation or expulsion before the August recess,” LaLotta said after the vote. said in a statement.
While McCarthy and other House Republicans have argued that the Ethics Committee could move quickly on Santos’ investigation, recent precedent shows that may not be the case.
In recent cases involving House members facing criminal charges, the Justice Department has asked the ethics committee to suspend its investigation.
Examples include the Ethics Committee investigations of former Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), who resigned last year after he was found to have lied to the FBI; Chris Collins (RN.Y.), sentenced in 2020 to 26 months in prison for participating in an insider-trading scheme and lying to the FBI; and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for fraud.
In all those cases, the Judiciary he asked Ethics Committee to do”Put aside for consideration” Matters relating to then legislators.
Speaking to reporters outside the Capitol minutes before the vote, Garcia said Democrats would continue to push to expel Santos from the House. [Republicans are] Will try this trick.
He said he should not be in Congress.
Azi Paybarah, Camila DeChalus and Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.