Criminal Conviction: The Sole Reason for ExpulsionDecember 1, 2023
Yesterday’s one hour debate on the House floor on resolution No. 878 to expel Con(gress)man George Santos convinced us even more that he is a cheating, lying scoundrel — who happened to write, direct and star in the film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” you know — who should be thrown in prison. And it also reinforces our fervent belief that being accused on 23 felony counts related to stealing from his campaign account is not being convicted and that he should not be expelled until he’s found guilty.
Says the Constitution: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”
That two-thirds threshold has only happened in five instances. Today’s roll call vote should not be the sixth.
Three times in 1861, traitors who took up with the Confederacy against the Union in the Civil War were expelled. And twice, in 1980 and 2002, convicted federal felons were booted. Being indicted is not being convicted. Being the world’s biggest liar (which itself is a lie) is not grounds for expulsion.
During the debate, fellow freshman Long Island Republican Anthony D’Esposito (we understand perfectly why D’Esposito hates that grouping with Santos) argued that Santos is a disgrace and a lout and a horrible person. True, true, true but he is also an elected member of Congress, which is not a lie.
Michael Guest, the GOP chair of the Ethics Committee, spoke with passion on the floor about Santos how had cheated on his campaign finances and should be tossed out. But the committee didn’t recommend any action against Santos.
Guest authored the resolution which says that the ethics panel reviewed if Santos broke campaign finance laws and other misdeeds and if he “engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”
However, that’s very misleading as the final report says that the “Office of Congressional Ethics also referred this allegation to the Committee with a recommendation that the Committee dismiss the allegation, finding that there was not substantial reason to believe that Rep. Santos sexually harassed or discriminated against Witness 10, a prospective employee” and that “the Investigative Subcommittee was unable to substantiate this allegation.”
So two separate oversight bodies dismissed the sexual misconduct charge, but Guest still listed it in the formal expulsion resolution being voted on today. That’s dirty dealing, even against a dirty guy like Santos.
Facing campaign finance charges is not enough to expel anyone. Even facing more serious felonies isn’t enough.
The few Republicans who spoke against expulsion didn’t defend Santos; they were defending the integrity of the institution. Clay Higgins put it simply: “calm down.” Matt Gaetz was also correct (yes, we are surprised we agree with Gaetz on anything) that “if George Santos is convicted, then he ought to be expelled.”
D’Esposito implored that “the American people expect us to do the right thing.” The right thing is upholding the standard that has been in place for centuries.
With 435 members seated, 290 are needed for expulsion. If all 213 Democrats vote yes, then 77 Republicans would be needed. We hope that Democrats and Republicans take the tougher vote and say “No.”
That’s the math because there are no vacancies in the House right now. Keep it that way.