Reps. Nick Lalota, Marc Molinaro, and Anthony D’Esposito voted against booting their colleague two months ago. But they back a Democratic attempt to censure him now.
After granting George Santos leniency once, a group of New York Republicans are hesitating to punish him again. However, House Democrats are determined to bring a censure vote against the New York GOP’s most significant political liability within the next two weeks. This move comes approximately two months after their previous attempt to discipline the indicted Republican, during which Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to work hard to prevent his New York colleagues from voting with Democrats to end Santos’ congressional career.
This time, Democrats are pushing for a less severe action—a censure rather than a full expulsion. At least three first-term New York Republicans, namely Reps. Nick Lalota, Marc Molinaro, and Anthony D’Esposito, have expressed their support for the censure measure. These representatives have already urged Santos to resign as he faces multiple federal charges.
D’Esposito, one of the supporting Republicans, stated, “I was the first to call for his resignation. I’ve said on the floor that he is a stain on our institution, and I’d vote to censure.”
Although more than just these three GOP votes will be required for the measure to pass, their support might indicate growing Republican backing for the censure.
Timing plays a crucial role in garnering more Republican support. When McCarthy convinced his members to let the Ethics Committee handle the expulsion attempt, some agreed to give the panel 60 days to assess whether Santos should be removed from Congress or face disciplinary actions. Now, with just over 60 days having passed and no new findings from the slow Ethics panel, Democrats are holding them to their commitment.
The Ethics Committee leaders, Reps. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) and Susan Wild (D-Pa.), released a rare public statement on the ongoing investigation, revealing that the probe had already issued more than 30 subpoenas and 40 voluntary information requests. They are ensuring their investigation doesn’t conflict with the Department of Justice’s separate investigation into Santos.
However, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) accused McCarthy of making “another false promise designed to protect Santos,” asserting that the GOP leader had claimed the Ethics Committee would operate within the 60-day timeline. Goldman was supported in his claim by Reps. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), the latter of whom is leading the new Santos censure measure.
The censure vote, like the one in May, holds special “privileged” powers and will come to the floor regardless of McCarthy’s wishes. In the previous vote, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) employed the same process to bring up a measure censuring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for his role in investigations into former President Donald Trump.
Unlike the expulsion vote that required two-thirds majority support, the censure measure only needs a simple majority to pass. Therefore, Democrats would need at least five GOP votes, assuming full House attendance.
Although Democrats have not yet decided on the specific timing for the floor consideration of the censure measure, they are expected to do so before the August recess unless the House Ethics panel acts before then.
Santos has chosen not to comment directly, but he tweeted on Monday, “It’s a sad state of affairs to see the politicians play politics over people.” He also referred to some Republicans as “worthless idiots” who aren’t “doing a damn thing for the people.”