Why voters are 'likely' stuck with 'absurd' George Santos for 2 years: law professor
After Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California finally won his uphill battle to become House speaker, a new GOP-controlled majority was seated in the U.S. House of Representatives. And one of the new House Republicans who was sworn in was Rep. George Santos, the Queens/Long Island congressman who told one life after another during his 2022 campaign — from fabricating his employment history to falsely claiming that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors.
In an article published by The Bulwark on January 13, University of Baltimore law professor and former assistant U.S. attorney Kimberly Wehle laments that voters are probably going to be stuck with Santos for two years — fabrications and all.
“The George Santos scandal is so absurd that the late-night hosts are struggling to mock it, the ‘Saturday Night Live’ team is probably wishing it was back on the air already, and somewhere, a Netflix executive is looking for a screenwriter who can do the story justice,” Wehle explains. “The freshman Republican House member unabashedly admits that he lied to voters and his own party about where he went to school (not Baruch College), where he worked (not Goldman Sachs), his ownership of a number of rental properties (not thirteen), being robbed of his rent money in Queens (not according to NYPD), being Jewish (his “Jew-ish” claim is not a thing), his clean criminal status in Brazil (pelo contrário, say Brazilian authorities), his athletic accomplishments (not a star volleyball player), and the timing of his mother’s death (not on 9/11).”
The law professor adds that sadly, House Speaker McCarthy isn’t calling for Santos to be removed from Congress. On January 12, McCarthy told reporters, “The voters of his district have elected him. He is seated. He is part of the Republican conference.”
Wehle argues that it isn’t hard to understand why McCarthy is going easy on Santos.
“Never mind that his election was based on a pack of lies — including allegedly even having someone pretend to be McCarthy’s chief of staff to help with fundraising,” Wehle writes. “To be fair, McCarthy did add yesterday that ‘I don’t see any way’ that Santos is going to have access to classified information, and that Santos has ‘got a long way to go to earn trust.’ McCarthy’s reticence to be more directly critical of Santos has an obvious explanation: He is worried about the GOP’s slim four-seat House majority, which becomes more tenuous if Santos steps down and New York’s 3rd Congressional District goes to a special election.”
Wehle delves into U.S. history in her article, laying out some reasons why it “seems unlikely” that Santos will be removed from the House between now and January 2025.
“If 290 of the 435 members of the House agree, Santos can be fired,” Wehle notes. “But in all of U.S. history, only five members of the House of Representatives have been expelled. Two of those occurred in the last 150 years — and both of those guys had been convicted of crimes. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) was after a jury found him guilty on ten felony counts, including bribery and racketeering. In 1980, Michael Meyers (D-Penn.) also lost his seat after a bribery conviction. Santos has not (yet) been convicted of any crimes, and it seems unlikely the Republican-controlled House will want to break with that precedent and expel him. So, there is no way to get rid of Santos unless he resigns — at least not until 2024, when he would likely not be reelected.”
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