George Santos Could Be Expelled From Congress Based on Impending Ethics Report but, Let’s Be Honest, He Probably Won’t Be

Is George Santos ever going to be expelled from Congress? It’s a question many people have likely asked themselves on many, many occasions. For instance, when the news first broke that he had made up large portions of his résumé. Or that he’d told people his grandparents had fled the Holocaust* and that his mother was in the South Tower on 9/11. Or when the FBI opened an investigation into the matter of him allegedly swindling a veteran out of money raised for the guy’s dying dog. Or when he was charged with stealing donor identities, using their credit cards to make tens of thousands of dollars worth of charges, and wiring some of the money to his own personal bank account. On all of these occasions and more, people have probably wondered, No, really, how is this guy still around??

The answer, of course, is that Republicans have an extremely, virtually insurmountably high bar for the kind of behavior they’ll tolerate among their own. Save for some vocal New York lawmakers who are embarrassed to be geographically associated with Santos, few people in Congress actually seem inclined to give him the heave-ho without an official criminal conviction (and even then, a lot of them would probably still choose to keep him around). That was true not only for former House leader Kevin McCarthy, who was apparently just joking about his now months-old pledge to deal with Santos quickly, but also new House Speaker Mike Johnson, who suggested in an interview shortly after getting the top job that Republicans can’t kick out Santos because it would shrink their already tiny majority.

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Still, there is a teeny, tiny possibility that the lie-spewing, accused con man might could get the boot at some point in the near future. Per Politico:

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has evaded two efforts this year to oust him from the House. A third time could end up differently, depending on the results of a long-awaited ethics report this week. The House Ethics Committee is slated to release the findings of its investigation into Santos regarding a slew of charges, including campaign finance fraud and bribery, by Friday. If it’s damning, as many expect, New York Republicans who have called for his removal are likely to move quickly against him.

Their previous effort fell short of the necessary two-thirds vote, as other Republicans argued against setting the precedent of expelling a member without a conviction…. But some members who protected Santos last time have indicated that a convincing ethics report would change their minds.

“He’ll be out,” Representative Don Bacon, who previously voted to expel Santos, told Politico. “If he is found guilty by Ethics, he’s gone.” But California’s John Duarte was less committed to the idea, telling the outlet he would consider a vote to expel if the Ethics panel concludes “there’s criminal wrongdoing,” adding: “The one thing I want to make sure we’re not doing, whether it’s expulsion or censure, is lowering the standards.”

In order to actually send Santos packing, roughly 80 Republicans would need to join all Democrats in delivering him back to New York, and it’s not at all clear that 80 Republicans would sign on; earlier this month, a resolution introduced by New York Republicans to kick Santos out of the House was supported by just 24 GOP lawmakers.

For his part, Santos—who is still adding new entries to his “probably bullshit” list—said last week that he is “not concerned” about the forthcoming Ethics report, or any possible push to expel him that comes from it. “Let them do it,” he said. “If they don’t have a conviction and they don’t have anything damning coming out of Ethics, and they still push that, the norm stands…that we’re creating a dangerous precedent.”

Santos has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges and his federal trial is set for September 2024. He also denies swindling the money meant for the veteran’s dying dog.

*The congressman recently said in an interview that he is working on definitive proof that his grandparents really did flee Hitler, but that the “freaking war” in Ukraine is holding things up.

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