On Friday, New York Republican Rep. George Santos pleaded guilty to a revised set of fraud charges, adding to the tally of allegations first leveled back in May, and as The Hill reports, a cadre of fellow lawmakers from his home state have declared their plans to force a vote on his expulsion from the House of Representatives.
The latest charges against Santos involve claims that he charged significant sums to credit cards that belonged to campaign donors, bringing the total of federal counts he faces to 23.
Earlier this year, the embattled congressman pleaded guilty to charges related to allegations of lying to Congress about his personal finances, claiming unemployment compensation to which he was not entitled, and using campaign funds to cover lavish personal expenditures, as the Associated Press noted.
The move by New York Republicans to compel a vote on the expulsion of Santos follows close on the heels of the election of Rep. Mike Johnson as House Speaker.
As the Washington Examiner notes, a resolution to expel Santos from the chamber was introduced on Thursday by Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-NY), a group of freshmen representative from the Empire State, all of whom were joined by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
Given that the resolution is designated as privileged, House leaders have until Friday of next week to actually call a vote on the issue.
This is not the first time Santos has been the subject of an expulsion push, as members sought his ouster back in May, though the House decided to send the matter to the Ethics Committee, which has not yet concluded a probe it launched in March.
Those working to remove Santos has expected the committee to complete its review by August, but when that did not happen, D'Esposito reintroduced an expulsion measure earlier this month.
However, the protracted lack of a House speaker following Kevin McCarthy's removal from the role left the chamber in limbo and unable to act on the Santos resolution.
Appearing together with New York Reps. Nick LaLota and Mike Lawler, D'Esposito told reporters, “We would have done this two weeks ago if we weren't in the situation that we were in.”
It is, as The Hill notes, possible for Republican leadership to table the resolution or send it to committee again, provided majority support for such action is secured. However, if the measure makes it to a floor vote, support from two-thirds of the House will be necessary in order to boot Santos from the chamber.
The Republican lawmakers noted that their persistence in forcing an expulsion vote stemmed in large part from a recent guilty plea entered by Nancy Marks, Santos' former campaign manager.
LaLota declared, “Certainly the [Santos] indictment is persuasive, but more importantly, the plea by his treasurer confirming everything that we knew. We knew a lot beforehand, he admitted to a lot of things in the D'Esposito resolution, but the treasurer's plea I think is confirmation that, of a criminal conspiracy to defraud voters, donors, the FEC and everybody in between.”
Santos, for his part, remains defiant and has expressed his determination to receive due process “and not a predetermined outcome as some are seeking. Whether he is ultimately able to secure the support of a sufficient number of Republicans to retain his seat in Congress, however, only time will tell.