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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

How to remove a representative, like George Santos, from the House

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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George Santos appears to be enjoying the nightlife in Washington D.C. He was recently spotted at a local bar dancing and taking selfies. But in the halls of Congress, and in some prosecutors’ offices, his life is under the microscope as investigators try to determine if any of his lies are criminal.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said if an ethics investigation finds Santos broke the law, he will be removed from Congress.

“I will hold him to the same standard, I hold anyone else elected to congress. If for some way when we go through ethics, that he has broken the law then we will remove him. But it’s not my role. I believe in the rule of law, a person is innocent until proven guilty,” McCarthy said.

The Constitution gives Congress broad authority to discipline its members. That includes expulsion, censure and a formal reprimand. The Constitution allows the House to expel a representative who engages in “disorderly behavior.” Ultimately it requires a two-thirds majority vote.

Former Rep. David Skaggs, D-Colo., who chaired the board of directors for the Office of Congressional Ethics, explained that after the ethics committee investigates a matter, it brings an expulsion resolution to the House floor for a vote.

Santos has seemingly lied about nearly every detail of his life, from where he worked to where he went to college. But the lies that could get him into the most legal jeopardy are about his finances. Investigators are now trying to determine if he lied about how he funded his campaign and how he spent his campaign’s money.

Two Democratic representatives filed a complaint with the ethics committee accusing Santos of failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports.

“That said, normally, the ethics process is about conduct that happens while you’re in Congress, not conduct that happens before you get elected. So that’s gonna be a jurisdictional question that they’re gonna have to resolve,” Skaggs said. 

However Skaggs explained that if a finance violation was first committed when Santos was a candidate, an investigation could find that the offense was repeated since he’s been elected.

“Filing accurate financial disclosures is an ongoing matter. So even though that had to have happened when he first was a candidate, maintaining the accuracy of those filings with the Clerk of the House is an obligation you have everyday,” Skaggs said.

Only five members have been expelled in the history of the House, three of which fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Most recently, Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, was expelled after being convicted of a laundry list of crimes including bribery. 

“I think the resignation is usually the preferred exit door. To bring a matter of expulsion to the floor, or the House, doesn’t happen very often at all,” Skaggs said. “And besides who wants to have what is left of their reputation, completely obliterated by being one of the very, very few people who’s ever been expelled?”

Expulsion or pressuring Santos into resigning appear to be the only two courses of redress right now, because unlike state and local elections, constituents have no avenue to force a new election through a recall. 

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George Santos appears to be enjoying the nightlife in DC. He was recently spotted at a local bar dancing and taking selfies. But in the halls of Congress, and in some prosecutors offices, his life is under the microscope as investigators try to determine if any of his lies are criminal.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, said if an ethics investigation finds he broke the law, he will be removed from Congress.

McCarthy: “I will hold him to the same standard, I hold anyone else elected to congress. If for some way when we go through ethics, that he has broken the law than we will remove him. But it’s not my role. I believe in the rule of law, a person is innocent until proven guilty,”

The Constitution gives Congress broad authority to discipline its members. That includes expulsion, censure and a formal reprimand. The Constitution allows the House to expel a representative who engages in“disorderly behavior.” Ultimately it requires a two-thirds majority vote.

Former Rep. David Skaggs, D-Colo., who chaired the border of directors for the Office of Congressional Ethics, explained that after the Ethics Committee investigates a matter, it brings an expulsion resolution to the House floor for the vote.

Santos has lied seemingly about nearly every detail of his life, from where he worked to where he went to college. But the lies that could get him into the most legal jeopardy are about his finances. Investigators are now trying to determine if he lied about how he funded his campaign, and how he spent his campaign’s money.

Two Democratic Representatives filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee accusing Santos of failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports. 

“That said, normally, the ethics process is about conduct that happens while you’re in Congress, not conduct that happens before you get elected. So that’s gonna be a jurisdictional question that they’re gonna have to resolve,” Skaggs said. 

However Skaggs explained that if a finance violation was first committed when Santos was a candidate, an investigation could find that the offense was repeated since he’s been elected.

“Filing accurate financial disclosures is an ongoing matter. So even though that had to have happened when he first was a candidate, maintaining the accuracy of those filings with the Clerk of the House is an obligation you have everyday,” Skaggs said.

In the history of the House, only 5 members have ever been expelled, 3 of which fought for the Confederacy during the civil war. Most recently, Ohio Democratic Rep. James Traficant was expelled after being convicted of a laundry list of crimes including bribery.

Skaggs “I think the resignation is usually the preferred exit door. To bring a matter of expulsion to the floor, or the House, doesn’t happen very often at all. And besides who wants to have what is left of their reputation, completely obliterated by being one of the very, very few people who’s ever been expelled?”

But expulsion or pressuring Santos into resigning appear to be the only two courses of redress right now. Because unlike state and local elections, constituents have no avenue to force a new election through a recall. For more reporting on Congress stick with Straight Arrow News for unbiased, straight facts.