U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) and Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) were two among over 300 members of Congress who voted to expel U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the U.S. House of Representatives.
Santos admitted to fabricating details about his education, employment status and more after his election last year. Federal prosecutors have also accused him of laundering money from his campaign, to which he pleaded not guilty. Nevertheless, the former treasurer for his campaign pleaded guilty on October 5 to inflating fundraising numbers.
Santos represented parts of New York City and Long Island, previously represented by a Democrat who defeated him in 2020.
To expel a member of the House, the measure must receive a two-thirds majority vote. Members of Congress first attempted to expel him in November, but the measure narrowly failed.
However, interest among some fellow Republicans to expel the lawmaker grew later last month after a report from the House Ethics Committee accused him of spending campaign money at various online outlets, including makeup store Sephora and porn website OnlyFans.
After the report's release, Santos said he would not run for office again in 2024.
Including Santos' expulsion on Friday, Congress has only expelled six members in the entirety of the history of the United States. Half of them were removed during the period surrounding the Civil War. The last time a member of the House of Representatives was expelled was in 2002, when U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) was expelled following his conviction on 10 felony counts, which included charges of taking bribes and racketeering.
Alabama's five remaining representatives, all Republicans, voted against Santos's expulsion.
"Voting to expel a member of Congress is a very solemn action that I do not take lightly," Aderholt explained. "Many of my Republican colleagues voted no, and I understand how they could come to that conclusion, especially in light of the fact that since the Civil War, the House has not voted to expel a Member of Congress who has not been convicted of a crime. Each member had to review the facts and come to their own conclusion. That being said, as I reviewed the House Ethics Committee report with all the charges that were made against him, George Santos was given multiple opportunities to defend himself and explain the allegations that were made against him, yet he refused."
"I believe the situation Congressman Santos finds himself in rose to the level that he should no longer be serving in the House of Representatives," he continued. "While George Santos is a fellow Republican and the Republican majority will now be less, I don't believe that even a slim majority should excuse such gross unethical conduct. Politics should not be considered in such a matter. Moreover, I also had to ask myself if a member from the other side of the aisle was facing the same situation, would I vote to expel? And I found myself reaching the same conclusion. Members of Congress must be held to the highest standards. This was an unprecedented situation, and, I believe, required this unprecedented action."
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