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Virginia House members split on vote to expel New York Republican George Santos

Chris Graham
george santos
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The U.S. House voted 311-114 on Friday to expel embattled Republican George Santos from his congressional seat representing New York.

The vote comes as Santos is facing 23 federal charges for wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

Santos, a freshman who was elected in 2022, is set to face trial on those charges in September.

Virginia’s congressional delegation voted 6-5 in favor of expulsion for Santos, with five Democrats – Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer McClellan, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton – and one Republican, Jen Kiggans, voting to expel, and Republicans Ben Cline, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman and Democrat Bobby Scott voting against expulsion.

Four members of the Virginia House delegation offered public statements on their votes.

Don Beyer: “The Ethics Committee investigation confirmed George Santos stole, lied, and committed fraud. The Ethics Committee Chairman, a Republican, filed a resolution to expel him. Republicans accept Santos’ misconduct because they need his vote. They are participants in his corruption.”

Gerry Connolly: “George Santos is no longer a Member of Congress, and the institution is better off for it.”

Jennifer McClellan: “Today, the House expelled Congressman George Santos following the release of a deeply troubling bipartisan Ethics Committee report. The report contained serious allegations of campaign finance violations that are part of a larger pattern of deceit. Santos lied his way to Congress with extraordinary fabrications of his background, upbringing, and professional and academic accomplishments.

“After careful consideration, I voted in support of the expulsion resolution. This is only the sixth time in our nation’s history that a Member of Congress was expelled, but it was a necessary step to protect our democracy and the legitimacy of our institution. The misconduct and illegal activities detailed in the Ethics report made clear he is not fit to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Bobby Scott: “The findings of the Investigative Subcommittee’s (ISC) report on Representative Santos highlights behavior that violates the public trust and demonstrates myriad ways he has disgraced himself and his office. He should have had the common decency to resign.

“In a previous vote to expel Mr. Santos, I made it clear that despite his disgraceful behavior, he had a right to due process. The Ethics Committee’s report to the full House concedes that it was not following the full process required by Committee and House Rules, which requires (1) the ISC to gather facts and bring formal charges through a Statement of Alleged Violations, (2) the Committee hold a fact-finding process, and (3) hold a sanctions hearing.

“The ISC presented substantial evidence of wrongdoing. The Committee then decided to waive the fact-finding process, because it would conflict with the Department of Justice’s criminal prosecution, and because Mr. Santos had not denied any of the allegations, despite being given ample opportunity to do so. The ISC did, however, make a recommendation for a sanction – a public condemnation. The full Committee then urged Members to read the report and ‘take any action they deemed appropriate and necessary,’ without indicating any reason to deviate from the ISC recommendation of a public condemnation.

“The final vote on the Floor was complicated by Mr. Santos’ totally incompetent response to the proceedings. According to the report, he failed to provide a meaningful response to the allegations, he publicly lied about his cooperation, and demonstrated ongoing disdain for his responsibility to comply with campaign and financial disclosure laws. There is also nothing in the record to suggest that he offered an alternative sanction, such as censure, instead of expulsion. Furthermore, the proceedings were complicated by the subjective reality that an overwhelming portion of the House, and in fact most of the public, just wanted him to leave, and only expulsion, rather than reprimand and censure, could achieve that objective. In the final analysis, we have to recognize that expelling a Member is one of the most serious and solemn actions Members can take, we have to recognize that precedent will be set. “Unlike both prior cases of expulsion since the Civil War, Mr. Santos has not been convicted of a crime, and few of the allegations involve conduct that occurred during his service as a Member of Congress.  And unlike the other cases, after the Committee reviewed and considered the evidence, it did not make a recommendation to expel him. For these reasons, I voted no.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].