WASHINGTON – Republicans in the House of Representatives plan to vote Wednesday night on a motion to refer a Democrat-backed resolution to expel Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., to the Ethics Committee.
The resolution was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Robert Garcia, D-California, and is privileged, meaning Republican leaders must schedule a vote by Thursday.
However, Republicans will seek to avoid a vote on the bill itself by referring it to the House Ethics Committee, which has been investigating Santos since early March.
Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Tom Emmer, R-Minn., sent out a statement Wednesday telling lawmakers they would vote on a motion to refer the resolution to the ethics panel around 5 p.m
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — who said last week he would not support Santos’ re-election bid — said Tuesday night that he prefers that approach to a plenary vote on Santos’ expulsion from Congress.
Garcia called McCarthy’s actions an “excuse” at a press conference Wednesday morning. “That’s already in the ethics committee,” Garcia said. “We want an actual vote on the expulsion.”
Rep. Dan Goldman, DN.Y., a former federal prosecutor, suggested that the ethics committee would take no action on the resolution and instead contact the Justice Department, which filed a 13-count indictment against Santos last week.
“Prosecutors will ask the ethics committee to pause and let their prosecution go ahead,” he said. “I did that for ten years, it’s the nature of these things. And traditionally the ethics committee leaves law enforcement to the Department of Justice, and Kevin McCarthy knows that.”
Goldman said the tactic was a way for Republicans to evade responsibility for the expulsion measure.
Santos’ convention bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last week, Santos pleaded not guilty in a Long Island court, despite the Justice Department overturning the federal indictment. santos has been charged According to the Justice Department, these are seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of material misrepresentation to the House of Representatives. He has to appear in court again on June 30.
Santos, who previously admitted to lying about his background, described the allegations against him as “witch hunt‘ and said he would not resign.
In March, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation to determine whether Santos “committed unlawful activities in connection with his 2022 congressional campaign; it failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House of Representatives; in connection with his role at a firm that provides fiduciary services violated federal conflict of interest laws; and/or has committed sexual misconduct towards a person seeking employment in its convention bureau.”