If you want to understand the level of dysfunction within the House Republican caucus, consider that several of its New York area members forced an expulsion vote for George Santos earlier this month, seemingly without knowing that the House Ethics Committee was about to release a devastating report about Santos today. That vote failed. But now that this ugly report has been released, all bets are off.
The House Ethics Committee has revealed that George Santos used campaign money for everything from lavish shopping sprees to cash withdrawals at casinos, and even an “only fans” subscription. Using campaign money for these kinds of personal dalliances is both an ethics violation and a crime under the law. The report conveniently isn’t recommending Santos be expelled, but is recommending that the DOJ prosecute him – which is a bit surreal, given that the DOJ is already doing so.
When the vote was held to expel Santos earlier this month, several leading House Democrats said that they didn’t want to do that without first seeing something like an Ethics Committee report. Now that this report has been released, some House Democrats say they’ll file a new motion to expel him. It’s still not clear if the votes are there on the Republican side, but this report will start to force the issue one way or the other.
Santos now says he won’t seek reelection in light of the Ethics Committee report. But he’s already previously announced that he wouldn’t seek reelection, only to change his mind and launch a 2024 campaign, so anything that this guy says is worthless.
We’ll see what comes of this next expulsion vote. We need to be prepared for at least the theoretical possibility that we’ll soon be gearing up for a special election to replace George Santos. Anna Kaplan has emerged as the leading Democratic candidate to take Santos’ seat, whether that ends up being in a special election or in November 2024. Either way, get to know Anna Kaplan.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report