George Santos expulsion vote: Who else has been expelled from Congress?


Washington — The House is poised to hold a vote this week on a third resolution to expel embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York, and if two-thirds of lawmakers agree to impose the harshest form of punishment on their colleague, he would be just the sixth member in U.S. history to be ousted.

Santos has spent his entire first year in Congress battling calls to resign following revelations shortly after he was elected that he fabricated aspects of his background and resume. But House members mounted their own efforts to expel the freshman congressman after he was indicted in May.

Santos is now facing nearly two dozen federal charges stemming from allegations by the Justice Department that he stole from donors, used campaign contributions for personal expenses, and fraudulently collected unemployment benefits, among other claims. 

The House Ethics Committee separately said in a bruising report released this month that it collected “overwhelming evidence” Santos violated federal law, finding that he “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

The New York Republican, who pleaded not guilty to all criminal counts, survived the two earlier expulsion attempts and has assailed his colleagues for focusing their time on him rather than other issues facing the nation. But the forthcoming third vote poses the biggest threat yet to his congressional career, and even Santos himself said last week he expects to be removed. Tuesday night, he told CBS News’ Nikole Killion that among his House colleagues, “a lot of them are saying that they have the votes.”

If the expulsion resolution garners the required two-thirds support from the House, Santos would join just five lawmakers who were ousted from the lower chamber, and the first in more than 20 years. The first three people removed from the House took up arms for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and the other two were convicted of federal crimes.

According to House rules, the staff of an expelled member is supervised by the clerk of the House, who also manages the office until a successor is in place. The expulsion also takes effect immediately, and the whole number of the House — the number of representatives “chosen, sworn and living whose membership” has not been terminated — is adjusted to account for the change, the chamber’s rules state. Asked by Killion whether he’d leave immediately if the House votes to expel him, Santos responded, “I have to, that’s part of the process. I respect the process.”

Santos would not be barred from running for Congress again, and expulsions do not bring any other “automatic” penalties beyond removal from the House, according to a report from Congressional Review Service.

Here are the other House members who were expelled.

John Clark, Democrat from Missouri

Clark was expelled for disloyalty to the Union in July 1861 by a vote of 94 to 45. He served as a brigadier general of Missouri Confederate troops. 

John Reid, Democrat from Missouri

Red was removed for disloyalty to the Union in a December 1861 vote, though it was not recorded. He served in the Confederate army during the Civil War as a volunteer aide to Confederate Gen. Sterling Price.

Henry Burnett, Democrat from Kentucky

Like the two others before him, Burnett was expelled for disloyalty to the Union in a vote that took place in December 1861. There was no recorded vote, according to the House’s Office of the Historic. 

Burnett was a colonel in the Kentucky Infantry in the Confederate army. 

Michael Myers, Democrat from Pennsylvania

Michael Myers
Michael Myers, speaks to reporters at the Capitol after he was expelled from Congress by fellow House members for taking a bribe in the FBI ABSCAM case. 

Bettmann


Myers’ expulsion by the House came after he was convicted of bribery in the 1970s-era Abscam sting investigation. He was expelled in October 1980 by a vote of 376 to 30.

Decades later, Myers pleaded guilty in June 2022 to federal election fraud charges related to schemes to fraudulently stuff ballot boxes for Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania elections from 2014 to 2018. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison at the age of 79.

James Traficant, Democrat from Ohio

Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, testifies at a hearing of the
Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, testifies at a hearing of the House Ethics Committee. The Committee found Traficant guilty of 9 counts violating House rules and recommended expulsion from Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Tom Williams


Traficant, who died in 2014, was the last member of the House to face expulsion, in July 2002 by a vote of 420 to 1. The former congressman’s removal followed his conviction that April on 10 federal counts, including bribery, racketeering and fraud.

Traficant attempted to run for reelection as an independent while in prison, but lost to Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, a former aide who served in the House until 2023. He tried to mount another political comeback in 2010 after serving seven years in prison, unsuccessfully running for the House again as an independent. 



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