The 5 members who have been expelled from the House

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is staring down another likely expulsion vote after the House Ethics Committee published scathing accusations of lies and misallocation of funds in a report earlier this month.

Santos faces criminal charges alleging campaign finances violations and fraud. He announced in the wake of the report that he will not run for reelection.

The embattled Long Island lawmaker survived an expulsion vote this month after 31 Democrats and most Republicans voted to keep him in the chamber. But some of those who previously supported him are now saying another vote should be brought to the floor.

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“[T]he evidence uncovered by the Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) revealed that Representative George Santos cannot be trusted,” according to the report. “At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles.”

If Santos is expelled, he would be only the sixth member of the House to be kicked out of the body in its more than two centuries of history.

Here’s why the other five were forced from their seats:

Civil War expulsions

Before the Civil War, only one member of Congress was ever expelled from either the House or Senate: Tennessee Sen. William Blount over allegations of treason in 1797.

But when the Confederacy seceded in 1861, Congress expelled 16 members over support for the rebels, most notably former Vice President John Breckinridge, then a senator from Kentucky.

That included three members of the House: Missouri Reps. John Reid and John Clark, both slave owners, and Kentucky Rep. Henry Burnett.

All three were expelled for encouraging secession, helping organize the Confederate government and joining the Confederate Army against the United States.

After the Civil War expulsions, only two more members of Congress have ever been expelled, both from the House.

Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-Pa.)

Myers was kicked out of the House in 1980 at the conclusion of a years-long bribery sting operation known as the Abscam scandal.

In the Abscam operation, FBI agents posed as a fictitious Arab company offering significant bribes in exchange for political favors, all caught on videotape. The FBI agents requested licenses for a fictional new casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

The mayor of Camden, N.J., was the first to be arrested over bribes, and ultimately seven members of Congress — one senator and six members of the House — would be indicted on bribery charges, in addition to more than a dozen lesser political figures.

Myers was caught on tape accepting an envelope containing a $50,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent, which he believed was in exchange for getting the fictitious Arab sheikh asylum in the U.S.

All seven politicians resigned from their posts, except for Myers. He was expelled by a vote of 376-30. Each was later convicted of the bribery charges after appeal. Myers was sentenced to three years in prison.

He later pleaded guilty to bribery again in 2020 for stuffing ballot boxes on behalf of certain candidates in local Philadelphia elections in the 2010s. He was sentenced to another two and a half years in prison.

Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio)

Traficant was expelled from Congress in 2002 over a corruption scandal. Prosecutors alleged that he systematically used campaign funds for personal use and mistreated his staff, including forcing staffers to do housework at his Washington houseboat and on his northeast Ohio farm.

It wasn’t the first time he had been charged with corruption. As Mahoning County sheriff in 1983, Traficant was charged with racketeering for allegedly accepting bribes. He chose to defend himself and argued that he only accepted bribes as part of his own undercover investigation into public corruption; he was acquitted.

He chose to defend himself again in his 2002 trial, but he was convicted on charges of bribery, racketeering and tax evasion. He was expelled from Congress shortly after in a 401-1 vote before serving seven years in prison.

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