House expels GOP Rep. George Santos over ethics violations

By Aditi Sangal and Shania Shelton, CNN

Updated 6:02 PM ET, Fri December 1, 2023
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5:07 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

All 4 top House GOP leaders voted to keep Santos in Congress. Here's a look at the vote tally

From CNN staff

A total of 311 members of the House voted to expel New York GOP Rep. George Santos, including 105 Republicans. In total, 114 House members voted against the expulsion, with two members recording themselves as "present."

All four top House GOP leaders — House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and House GOP Whip Tom Emmer — voted to keep Santos in Congress.

In total, 112 Republicans voted against expelling Santos.

A total of 206 Democrats voted to expel Santos. Two Democrats voted against expelling Santos from the House. They were Bobby Scott of Virginia and Nikema Williams of Georgia. Meanwhile, these two Democrats voted present: Jonathan Jackson of Illinois and Al Green of Texas.

See how each House member voted on Santos.

1:22 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

Here's how Republicans are reacting to the expulsion of Santos

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer, Manu Raju, Kristin Wilson and Haley Talbot

After New York GOP Rep. George Santos was expelled from the House, here's what Republicans are telling CNN about the vote — and the future of his seat:

GOP Rep. Byron Donalds: "I'm upset about it, because you're talking about erasing the very fabric of what's made us the greatest nation in the world. And it's not the actions of George Santos. It's the fact that everybody is afforded their day in court. And that was denied to him his day in court today. He lost his job," the lawmaker from Florida told CNN "Are we going to not tell every American that if you're accused of something you get fired on the spot? Is that not going to be the standard in the United States of America?"

"If that's going to be the standard in America going forward I shudder for the future of our country. That should not be the standard," he said, adding that the ethics committee’s report alone should not be enough to expel any member.

GOP Rep. Anthony D'Esposito: “There was a precedent set for someone like George Santos. The people in the Civil War were not George Santos, others that were removed from Congress were not George Santos, and I hope we don't have to do it again,” the lawmaker from New York said.

D’Esposito also expressed confidence that the GOP will be able to keep Santos' seat "because we are on the right side of every issue and we have great leadership.”

GOP Rep. Marc Molinaro: “What we have established is a precedent that when you fall far short of an ethical standard, we don't believe that you should be a member of Congress. And I think quite frankly, that should be reassuring and gratifying to the American people," the New York lawmaker told CNN.

GOP Rep. Mike Lawler: “I fundamentally believe he's unfit to serve in public office, whether he’s dog catcher in his local community or here in the halls of Congress,” the representative from New York said. “I think the voters were defrauded in New York's 3rd Congressional District. Donors were clearly defrauded. He used campaign funds for personal gain. And ultimately, the ethics report was pretty damning, and pretty clear and comprehensive.”

GOP Rep. Carlos Gimenez: “I think that the evidence is pretty overwhelming that he stole money from his contributors, and to me that’s one of the cardinal sins of public service. And you don’t deserve to be a public servant if you’re stealing money from your constituents,” the lawmaker from Florida said, adding that Republicans are ready to defend Santos’ seat in the upcoming special election to replace him.

12:52 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

House Democratic super PAC announces plans to spend big to flip expelled GOP Rep. Santos’ seat

From CNN's Manu Raju

Wasting no time, the House Democratic super PAC announced plans to spend big to pick up GOP Rep. George Santos’ seat. 

“House Majority PAC plans to play a significant role in the NY-03 special election, and we will do whatever it takes to flip this district blue,” House Majority PAC President Mike Smith said.

12:04 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

GOP Rep. Miller accuses Santos of stealing money from him and his mother

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer, Manu Raju and Haley Talbot

Rep. Max Miller leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on February 28.
Rep. Max Miller leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on February 28. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Rep. Max Miller, a GOP freshman from Ohio, accused Rep. George Santos of stealing money from him and his mother, and attacked Speaker Mike Johnson for opposing Santos’ expulsion. 

“I think leadership — this is just another example of Republicans who can't lead. And that's a really shameful. You know, the speaker and everyone in leadership knows that this man is a crook,” Miller said. 

He accused the New York Republican of using his and his mother’s credit card information to steal $5,000 from each of them, and marking them as an over donation.

“In January, I got an FEC Complaint because of an over donation to George Santos, and I'll explain why. I’m Jewish, my family's Jewish and they were donors and they like to give money to people who are Jewish, who are Republicans, because that's who we are,” he said. 

“And Mr. Santos took, not only my credit card personally, he took my mother's credit card personally and he swiped them both for an additional $5,000, marking it as an over donation. And I have it by the FEC, and I have the document in my office. And what I can tell you is within that document — I won't disclose any other names — but he defrauded over 350 people for hundreds of 1000s of dollars under undisclosed amounts, and I had to hire an attorney to fight it by the FEC that I think cost me 15 or $20,000. Altogether, this man has cost my family $30,000.” 

Santos’ office did not respond to a CNN request for comment on the allegation and CNN has reached out to Johnson’s office for comment.

11:35 a.m. ET, December 1, 2023

Santos becomes first House member to be expelled from chamber in more than two decades

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

Rep. George Santos leaves the U.S. Capitol after the House voted to expel him from Congress on December 1, in Washington, DC.
Rep. George Santos leaves the U.S. Capitol after the House voted to expel him from Congress on December 1, in Washington, DC. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

GOP Rep. George Santos has become the sixth member to be expelled from the US House, and is the first member to be ousted in more than two decades.

Of the only five members who have been expelled previously, three were expelled for fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Santos – the New York Republican with problems telling the truth and who is under federal indictment for fraud, money laundering, theft and stealing donors’ identities – becomes just the third federally elected lawmaker since the Civil War to be kicked out of the House by his peers.

The only other expelled representatives since the Civil War had already been found guilty in federal court and still refused to resign.

Michael “Ozzie” Myers, a Pennsylvania Democrat, was expelled from the House in 1980 after he was convicted as part of an infamous FBI investigation known as ABSCAM, in which he and other lawmakers were caught up in a sting operation taking bribes to help a fictional Arab sheikh.

Most of the other lawmakers embroiled in ABSCAM ultimately resigned. Myers was expelled in the time between his conviction and his sentencing in 1980.

He’s actually back in jail at the moment; Myers, now 80, was sentenced to 30 months in prison last year for taking bribes in a ballot-stuffing scheme in Democratic primaries dating back to 2014.

The other House member to be expelled since the Civil War, James Traficant Jr., an Ohio Democrat, was removed from office after being convicted in a bribery and racketeering scandal in 2002. Traficant tried to mount an independent campaign for his seat from his prison cell, but it did not go well. He died in 2014 after a tractor accident on a family farm.

Read more about this here.

12:03 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

These 2 Democrats voted against expelling Santos

From CNN's Haley Talbot, Clare Foran and Kristin Wilson 

Two Democrats voted against expelling GOP Rep. George Santos from the House.

They were Bobby Scott of Virginia and Nikema Williams of Georgia. Meanwhile, two Democrats voted present: Jonathan Jackson of Illinois and Al Green of Texas.

A full breakdown of the vote from the House Clerk office can be found here.

1:22 p.m. ET, December 1, 2023

George Santos after House expels him: "To hell with this place"

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Rep. George Santos is surrounded by journalists as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after his fellow members of Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 1, in Washington, DC.
Rep. George Santos is surrounded by journalists as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after his fellow members of Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 1, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

GOP Rep. George Santos told CNN after the House voted to expel him that "it’s over."

“The House spoke, that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he added.

When asked if he would still stay and use nonmember privileges because he is not convicted, Santos said, "Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”

Pressed if he knew this was how it was going to go, Santos said, "I had no skin in the game." 

And then he said, "You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions."

11:55 a.m. ET, December 1, 2023

JUST IN: House votes to expel Santos from Congress

From CNN staff

Rep. George Santos and members of his staff board an elevator as they head for the U.S. Capitol ahead of a vote to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 1, in Washington, DC.
Rep. George Santos and members of his staff board an elevator as they head for the U.S. Capitol ahead of a vote to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 1, in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House has voted to expel New York Republican Rep. George Santos over ethics violations, making him only the sixth lawmaker ever to be kicked out of the chamber.

The resolution required a two-thirds majority vote to succeed. House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that 311 members of the House voted to expel Santos, which included 105 Republicans. Another 114 voted against the expulsion, with two members recording them selves "present."

All four top House GOP leaders, including Johnson, voted to keep Santos in Congress.

Santos is the first member of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War who wasn’t first convicted of a felony. 

What happens next: According to a former House parliamentarian, an expulsion is administratively handled the same way as a vacancy, including death or resignation. The House clerk assumes control of the office and makes decisions on behalf of that office. They will decide how Santos’ office is cleared out, among other steps. His district office remains intact for constituent needs. 

The chamber's clerk will inform the governor of New York that there is now a vacancy in the third district of New York. It is then up to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul to schedule a special election to replace him.

11:00 a.m. ET, December 1, 2023

House appears to have enough votes to expel Rep. Santos

From CNN staff

The House is voting to expel New York Republican Rep. George Santos over ethics violations.

The gavel has not been brought down, but it appears there are enough votes to oust him.