The House failed Wednesday night to expel serial fabulist George Santos from Congress, marking just another bump in a career plagued by scandal.
Representatives voted 179–213 against the resolution to remove Santos (with 19 members voting “present”). Only 24 Republicans joined the majority of Democrats in voting against the freshman congressman, not nearly anywhere close to the two-thirds majority needed to expel him from the House.
The New York representative has caused nothing but controversy since he took office in January. He fabricated the vast majority of his personal and professional background and has been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft.
In addition to apparently lying about his employment history, Santos has falsely claimed that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, his mother died in the 9/11 attacks, and four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
But none of that was enough for the House to push for his expulsion.
Six freshman Republicans from New York—Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams—co-sponsored the resolution to expel Santos. The six lawmakers were some of the first Republicans to call publicly for Santos to resign once his lies were revealed. All of them except Langworthy won in districts that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, making them more vulnerable to being voted out in 2024.
Many Republicans have resisted calling on Santos to resign due to their narrow majority in the House. With just a nine-seat GOP majority, Santos is a necessary vote. Several Republicans had called to hold off on the expulsion vote until after the House Ethics Committee finished an investigation into Santos. The committee opened the probe in March and announced Tuesday that it would complete its investigation on or before November 17.
Santos has been federally charged with 23 counts of various types of financial fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 in May, and he has denied the additional 10 that were filed Tuesday night in a superseding indictment. Earlier this year, he also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud so that he could avoid prosecution.