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Lawmakers consider expulsion of Rep. Santos amid federal charges

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wants lawmakers to move faster in their probe into Rep. George Santos, who has been indicted on 13 federal charges.
Lawmakers consider expulsion of Rep. Santos amid federal charges
Posted at 9:35 AM, May 17, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly expects the House Ethics Committee to move pretty quickly with its investigation into embattled Rep. George Santos. 

Democrats are taking things up a notch, now moving to force a vote to expel him altogether from Congress. 

The Republican New York congressman was indicted by the Justice Department last week on 13 federal charges, including seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, two counts of materially false statements and one count of theft of public funds.

SEE MORE: What we know about George Santos' fraudulent claims

A source very close to the congressman, as well as to Republican leadership, told Scripps News political correspondent Kevin Cirilli that McCarthy is increasingly frustrated with Congressman Santos taking attention away from key issues McCarthy has to negotiate on. He's now telling aides, as well as colleagues, that he wants the investigation in the House of Representatives to move faster and for lawmakers to come to their conclusion. That senior source also said this is being interpreted as McCarthy being ready to go further than he has in the past, since distancing himself from Santos. 

Now, the question becomes, can Santos try to pull a Marjorie Taylor Greene — someone who he's supposedly looked up to in the past several months — and try to fundraise off of this controversy. The source Cirilli spoke with said that's a long shot, it's not something that has materialized, and donors are very skeptical that he would be able to turn himself into this kind of firebrand progressive or conservative, akin to an Ilhan Omar, who would be able to fundraise off of this. 

SEE MORE: Rep. Santos refuses to resign following calls from NY Republicans

Democrats have introduced a motion to expel Santos. During a press conference, Rep. Robert Garcia spoke about Santos confessing to theft and fraud in Brazil and then agreeing to make a payment to avoid prosecution. Garcia called on Republicans to join the Democrats' calls for Santos' expulsion.

"He's already admitted to lying and to fraud. He is an embarrassment to the House and to the country," Garcia said. "People want better from us and they want honest and ethical government. We know that in this House, we receive classified briefings and George Santos should not have access to our country's most guarded secrets. Now, last week, the House voted on legislation regarding unemployment fraud and he voted for it, while standing accused of unemployment fraud. It took time to restore this body to what it should be: a beacon of democracy, freedom and truth," Garcia continued. "Remember, we all filed — this group — the resolution three months ago, even before this last group of charges. With power comes great responsibility, and this representative from New York has really no interest in the public good. We should not refer this matter to the Ethics Committee. This resolution is already there. Every Republican should stand up and join us to defend this body and expel George Santos."

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