The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote Friday on the ouster of Republican Rep. Jorge Santos, who is facing new charges related to criminal corruption charges and campaign spending, Republican aides said.
Several lawmakers filed petitions targeting the first-term congressman after a report by his colleagues recommended that federal prosecutors bring additional charges against Santos, 35, who fabricated large aspects of his life story in his campaign.
The motion requires a two-thirds majority in the House, which Republicans control by a narrow 222 to 213 majority.
House Speaker Mike Johnson said party leaders won’t tell members how to vote because some believe he shouldn’t be expelled before his criminal case is resolved.
“Personally, I have serious reservations about doing this. I’m worried about the precedent it could set,” he told a press conference.
Johnson said a vote would be held on Thursday, but Republican aides indicated later that a vote was expected on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Santos’ district, which includes a small portion of New York City and some of its eastern suburbs, is considered competitive in the upcoming elections.
On November 16, the ethics committee issued a report on allegations that Santos had committed campaign finance fraud. The report documented widespread accounting and misappropriation of campaign funds that said his election “called into question the integrity of the House.”
Santos previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges brought by New York prosecutors of embezzling campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and charging donors’ credit cards without authorization, among other campaign finance violations.
Santos did not respond to a request for comment.
After the report was published, the vice-chancellor said he would not run for re-election in 2024, but refused to resign before then.
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