WASHINGTON — The House voted 311-114, including 105 Republicans, to expel former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from Congress on Friday. Supporters of the expulsion cited a pattern of lies and alleged crimes, as detailed last month in a scathing House ethics report.

The 56-page report found “overwhelming evidence” that Santos exploited his House candidacy for his own financial benefit. The House Committee on Ethics determined “substantial evidence” that Santos used campaign funds for Botox treatments, luxury goods and other personal expenses.

In a historic vote, Santos, who survived two prior attempts of expulsion, became the sixth House member in U.S. history to be ousted. Of those, three members were expelled for fighting for the Confederacy, while the other two were convicted of federal crimes. 

Santos has not yet been convicted but currently faces 23 felony charges, including wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds — to which he has pleaded not guilty. 

“Is that conduct deserving of expulsion from the House of Representatives? It is, and there were ethics findings to back it up. He lost me today at that point, because there was a formal process behind it,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD.), who had previously voted to keep Santos in the House. 

The morning of the vote, Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) sent a last-minute email to his Republican colleagues, explaining why he planned to vote ‘yes’ on the resolution. Without Miller’s authorization, Santos’ campaign charged his credit card and his mother’s credit card for contributions beyond what’s allowed by FEC guidelines, he wrote. 

“My personal experience related to the allegations and findings of the Ethics Committee compels me to vote for the resolution,” Miller wrote. 

After the vote, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who voted against the expulsion, told reporters he felt “very frustrated” with the outcome. Santos deserved to have his day in court, before the House moved to expel him, he said. 

“People (should be) able to have adjudicated what they were accused of in open courts — not be some wacky tribunal where you are guilty until proven innocent,” Donalds said. 

Likewise, Republican House leadership — including House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.),  Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) —  voted against the measure for expulsion. House Speaker Mike Johnson advised lawmakers to “vote with their conscience,” noting his reservations of setting a precedent. 

From the floor, George Santos defended himself during a debate over his impending expulsion Thursday, accusing the House Committee on Ethics of rushing its investigation.

Unlike himself, other expelled representatives have been convicted of their crimes, he said. Santos’s federal trial is slated for September 2024

“On what basis does this body feel that precedent must be changed for me?” he said Thursday. “It is a predetermined necessity for some members in this body to engage in this smear campaign to destroy me.” 

But Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.), the chairman of the House Committee on Ethics, pushed back on this characterization of a “precedent.” In other instances, members facing controversy chose to resign to relieve their constituents of a difficult process — a route Santos did not take, he said. 

Guest emphasized the uniqueness of Santos’s case, promising that expulsions would be a rare occurrence. 

“The circumstances in this case, the nature of the allegation, the number of the allegations, the strength of those allegations, bore out the fact that expulsion was the proper penalty in this case,” Guest told reporters. 

Santos’s departure leaves his seat in New York’s 3rd District vacant, making the Republicans’ hold on the House majority even slimmer. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) announced she was ready to “undertake the solemn responsibility” of filling the vacancy. Hochul has ten days to schedule a special election, which is expected to take place in February. 

Two dozen candidates are interested in the position. It’s anticipated to be a tough battle between Democrats and Republicans, since Santos formerly represented a district won by President Joe Biden in 2020. 

But Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), who introduced a resolution to expel Santos in October, said he is confident that the district will remain “a bright shade of red.” Moving forward, lawmakers need to ensure that New York’s 3rd District has adequate representation, he said. 

Over the last eight months, New York’s 3rd District has been “robbed” of political representation, because voters were misled on “the real George Santos,”  D’Esposito told reporters. 

“They voted on someone who was made up, fabricated — quite frankly, could have been a Disney character,” he said. “Now, they will have the opportunity to elect someone who’s real, who’s ethical, who’s trustworthy.”