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Expulsion vote puts Santos in history books with confederates, convicts

Expulsion is "the sternest form of punishment that the House has imposed on its members.

Published: December 3, 2023 9:30am

(The Center Square) -

When Rep. George Santos became the first Republican ever to be expelled from the House of Representatives, he joined an infamous few in the history of Congress.

Expulsion is "the sternest form of punishment that the House has imposed on its Members," according to the lower chamber's historical records.

The Constitution empowers the House to expel a sitting member who engages in "disorderly Behaviour." It requires a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.

With Friday’s votes, Santos joins a short list of others who have been kicked out of Congress.

Back in 1861, House members voted to expel three representatives for "disloyalty to the Union; fighting for the Confederacy." They were John B. Clark, John W. Reid and Henry C. Burnett.

Those men remained the only three to be expelled for more than 100 years.

The next expulsion came in 1980. This time it was Pennsylvania Democrat Michael J. Myers, who had been convicted of bribery. Myers was convicted on August 30, 1980, of conspiracy, bribery, and travel in interstate commerce to carry on the unlawful act of bribery, according to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Myers was busted in the infamous Abscam scandal. Abscam, a high-level FBI undercover sting operation, focused on public corruption and organized crime. Myers got caught on camera accepting a $50,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The fifth Congressman to get expelled was James A. Traficant, a Democrat from Ohio. He was expelled from the House on July 24, 2002, for conspiracy to commit bribery, defraud the U.S., receipt of illegal gratuities, obstruction of justice, filing false tax returns and racketeering. Traficant was convicted before his expulsion.

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