Utah House Republicans vote to expel George Santos amid ethics violations, criminal charges

All four of Utah’s House Republicans voted to expel embattled New York Rep. George Santos from Congress on Friday morning. The vote follows the release of a scathing Ethics Committee report that accused Santos of stealing money from his campaign and donors, fraudulent Business practices, and using campaign funds for personal enrichment. He also faces 23 federal criminal counts, including fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. Santos is only the sixth member of the House to be expelled, the last being former Democratic Ohio Rep. James Traficant, who was ousted in 2002 after being convicted of multiple federal crimes, including bribery, racketeering, and fraud.

Two weeks ago, Rep. John Curtis signaled he would vote to expel Santos following the release of the Ethics Committee report. On Friday, Curtis explained he voted for expulsion because Santos’ behavior was unacceptable. “The evidence and the nature of violations of George Santos exceeded, by any measure, conduct that should be tolerated,” Curtis posted on social media following the vote.

In her first high-profile vote since being sworn into Congress on Tuesday, newly elected Rep. Celeste Maloy joined 104 other Republicans to kick Santos out of the House. “The investigation led by the House Ethics Committee has shown that Rep. Santos has grossly abused his position for personal gain,” Maloy said in a statement following the vote. “I have spoken repeatedly about the need to restore the faith of the American people in our institutions. Today’s vote shows that I mean it.”

Rep. Burgess Owens said in a statement that the Ethics Committee report left him with no choice but to vote for expulsion. “After reviewing the Ethics Committee’s report, it is clear he egregiously violated the standards of integrity and ethics expected of a member of Congress. Santos’ actions damaged trust in our democratic institutions, and it’s shameful to have allowed him to distract from the important work Americans entrusted to our House Republican majority,” Owens said.

Rep. Blake Moore said the Ethics Committee report was the major reason he voted to send Santos packing. “The Ethics Committee conducted a thorough and independent investigation, and I trust the integrity of the report,” Moore said in an email statement.

Santos tangled with Sen. Mitt Romney earlier this year before the State of the Union address. Cameras caught Romney exchanging words with Santos. During the exchange, Romney appeared to say to Santos, “You don’t belong here,” and “You should be embarrassed.” “He shouldn’t have been there. He’s a sick puppy,” Romney said when asked about the confrontation by reporters.

This historic expulsion underscores the House’s commitment to upholding the integrity and ethics expected of its members. The removal of Santos sends a clear message that unethical conduct will not be tolerated in Congress.

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