WASHINGTON— CD-11 Congressman August Pfluger of San Angelo voted with over 100 U.S. House Republicans Friday to Expel embattled Congressman George Santos.
The House voted overwhelmingly on Friday to expel indicted Rep. George Santos, concluding a tumultuous term marked by revelations of fabricated biography details, a scathing House ethics investigation, and a federal indictment with 23 counts, including wire fraud and money laundering.
The vote tally stood at 311-114, with two members voting present. Among those who voted for the removal of Santos was congressman August Pfluger.
Representative Santos, a Republican from New York, had previously survived two expulsion attempts this year, one in May and another a month ago.
However, Santos began losing substantial support shortly before Thanksgiving following a damning 56-page report by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee. The report detailed allegations of Santos deceiving donors, submitting false campaign statements, and using campaign funds for personal expenses, including rent, luxury goods, trips to Las Vegas and the Hamptons, cosmetic treatments like Botox, and a subscription to the adult-content site OnlyFans.
Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, stated that his leadership team opted not to influence the vote, allowing members to "vote their conscience." Yet, just before the vote, Johnson and his team opposed the removal of the freshman lawmaker.
Johnson had previously expressed reservations about setting a precedent by supporting expulsion, stating, "I personally have real reservations about things."
Santos swiftly became a liability for several vulnerable New York Republicans who were part of his freshman class. Fellow New York representatives, including Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, and Marc Molinaro, spearheaded the effort to remove him.
While Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, authored the expulsion resolution, he stated close coordination with the New York representatives to ensure they were at the forefront of forcing the vote this week.
Santos, in just 11 months of his first congressional term, admitted to fabricating details about his background but denied any wrongdoing. He pleaded not guilty to the nearly two dozen federal charges and repeatedly rejected calls from colleagues to resign, including at an early-morning news conference outside the Capitol on Thursday, where he defiantly stated, "Because if I leave, they win. This is bullying."
He added, "I’m 35 years old. ... It doesn’t mean it’s goodbye forever."
His imminent expulsion places him among a select few. Santos becomes just the sixth individual in U.S. history to be expelled from the House of Representatives. Three were expelled for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War due to disloyalty. Two others, Michael Myers, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and James Traficant, a Democrat from Ohio, were expelled in 1980 and 2002, respectively, after being convicted of federal crimes.