Metro Weekly

George Santos To Be Censured By Democrats

Rep. Ritchie Torres plans to introduced a resolution to censure Santos for misleading voters with biographical fabrications.

U.S. Congressmen Ritchie Torres (left) and George Santos (right) – Photo: U.S. House of Representatives

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to introduce a resolution to formally censure U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), a gay man, for fabricating parts of his biography and resumé when he ran for Congress.

The measure, introduced by Santos’s fellow New Yorker, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D), who is also gay, cites more than a half-dozen of Santos’s most egregious falsehoods.

These include fabrications about his work history, college degrees, a nonexistent collegiate volleyball career, and a claim that he helped produce the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, according to The New York Times.

Interestingly, the measure does not incorporate allegations concerning campaign finance violations and conflict-of-interest laws, for which the House Ethics Committee is investigating Santos.

The exclusion of such allegations from the measure appears intended to preemptively rebut arguments from Republicans seeking to defend the embattled Santos that the House shouldn’t take action on any charges currently under investigation by the Ethics Committee.

Because the Ethics Committee isn’t investigating Santos for his truthfulness (or lack thereof), such arguments are moot.

Torres told the Times that he believes Santos’s conduct “is egregious enough to warrant expulsion,” but said, “at a minimum, we should hold him accountable to public censure.”

Democrats previously introduced a measure seeking to expel Santos, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island, back in May.

But the House voted, largely along party lines, to refer that resolution to the Ethics Committee, arguing that the committee should take the time to investigate the alleged wrongdoing by the congressman and issue its own opinion on whether to pursue censure or expulsion.

However, unlike expulsion, which requires a two-thirds vote of all House members, a censure resolution only requires a simple majority.

If all 212 Democrats were to support censure — a tall proposition, as some Democrats, especially those on the House Ethics Committee, are likely to recuse themselves — only six Republican votes would be necessary to censure Santos.

While a censure does not remove a politician from office or strip them of any powers, it does become part of a member’s permanent record. That said, censure has only ever been leveled against about two dozen lawmakers in the entire history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“If you are a member of Congress who has informally condemned Mr. Santos, then you should have no trouble formally censuring him,” Torres told the Times, in a veiled swipe at some Republicans, especially New York Republicans, who have condemned Santos’s fabrications but have deferred to the Ethics Committee before taking action.

“He has disgraced the institution, and the institution should speak with one voice against his misconduct,”  Torres said.

Last month, the House voted along party lines to censure U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) over his past actions as then-Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading investigations into the conduct of former President Donald Trump. The vote angered Democrats, who accused Republicans of seeking to punish the former president’s biggest critics.

Another difference between Schiff’s censure and Santos’s proposed censure is that New York Republican leaders have previously condemned Santos’s actions and called for his resignation, including several members of Congress representing swing-district seats in New York. Some Republican leaders have even promised to back a challenger against Santos in next year’s primary election. 

In addition to the House Ethics probe, Santos faces a separate federal criminal indictment on 13 charges of wire fraud, money laundering, stealing public funds, and lying on federal campaign finance disclosure forms. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Torres has said that the resolution will be privileged, meaning that once he introduces it, the House must either vote on or table the resolution within 48 hours. While Torres has declined to say when he intends to officially introduce the resolution, a Democratic leadership aide told the Times that the party hoped to bring up the resolution just prior to the August recess if the House Ethics Committee did not release its investigatory findings by then.

The Ethics Committee released a statement in late June indicating they were “actively working to resolve” the investigation “in an expeditious time frame.” Still, there are no indications that the committee plans to release its findings anytime soon.

Santos has previously indicated he intends to run for re-election next year. In a statement to NBC News, he blasted Democrats for attempting to censure him.

“Democrats on the other side of the aisle have completely lost focus on the work they should be doing,” Santos said. “My record proves that my office is hard at work, serving constituents and crafting keen legislation. The Republican majority is also working hard to get the country back on track and clean up the mess left behind by destructive one-party Democrat rule. It is time to stop the political ping-pong and get real work done.”

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