George Santos faces new move to expel him from Congress after ethics report

<span>Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
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The embattled Republican US representative George Santos faced a fresh effort to expel him from Congress on Friday, the day after fellow lawmakers released a report that suggested federal prosecutors should bring additional criminal charges against him.

The House of Representatives ethics committee chairman, Michael Guest, introduced the bill targeting the first-term lawmaker from New York, who is now known as much for being a fabulist and a criminal defendant as a politician.

Related: George Santos: the four strands of the Republican congressman’s web of lies

Santos has been engulfed in scandal since his 2022 election, following revelations that he lied about much of his past and federal fraud charges.

Santos, 35, previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges of laundering campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and charging the credit cards of donors without permission, among other campaign finance violations.

Guest, a Republican, released a statement on Friday that said, in part: “The evidence uncovered in the ethics committee’s investigative subcommittee investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment, is expulsion. So, separate from the committee process and my role as chairman, I have filed an expulsion resolution.”

The resolution also includes the remark that: “Santos must be held accountable to the highest standards of conduct in order to safeguard the public’s faith in this institution.”

The House, which Republicans control by a narrow 221-213 majority, is expected to vote on the expulsion effort when it returns from a two-week recess, so as soon as 28 November. Santos’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Despite the narrow margin in the House, Santos is not likely to get support from the Republican speaker, Mike Johnson, who described the report’s findings as “very troubling”, according to a statement from his spokesperson, Raj Shah.

“Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further,” Shah said.

Santos’s district, which includes a small slice of New York City and some of its eastern suburbs, is seen as competitive.

The bipartisan ethics committee on Thursday released a report into Santos’s alleged campaign finance fraud, which documented a pattern of poor bookkeeping and misuse of campaign funds so pervasive that his election “has called into question the integrity of the House”. Santos said on Thursday he would not run for re-election in 2024, but refused to step down before then.

The ethics committee said it referred more “uncharged and unlawful conduct” to the justice department for possible criminal prosecution.

The report also detailed extravagant – and possibly illegal – spending of campaign money, including thousands of dollars on Botox treatments, luxury brands such as Hermès, and “smaller purchases” from OnlyFans, an online platform known for sexual content.

A motion to expel requires two-thirds support in the House. Last time, 182 Republicans voted against expulsion as they need Santos’s seat to protect their narrow House majority, that result is expected to be less favorable to Santos next time.

Reuters contributed reporting