Advertisement
New Zealand markets closed
  • NZX 50

    11,719.82
    +29.57 (+0.25%)
     
  • NZD/USD

    0.6197
    +0.0002 (+0.03%)
     
  • NZD/EUR

    0.5721
    +0.0004 (+0.07%)
     
  • ALL ORDS

    7,899.20
    +33.90 (+0.43%)
     
  • ASX 200

    7,643.60
    +32.40 (+0.43%)
     
  • OIL

    76.57
    -2.04 (-2.60%)
     
  • GOLD

    2,045.80
    +15.10 (+0.74%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    17,937.61
    -67.09 (-0.37%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,706.28
    +21.79 (+0.28%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    39,131.53
    +62.42 (+0.16%)
     
  • DAX

    17,419.33
    +48.88 (+0.28%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    16,725.86
    -17.09 (-0.10%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    39,098.68
    +836.48 (+2.19%)
     
  • NZD/JPY

    93.2250
    +0.0250 (+0.03%)
     

Republican who spent campaign donations on OnlyFans and Sephora expelled from Congress

George Santos sitting alone in the House Chamber (Reuters )
George Santos sitting alone in the House Chamber (Reuters )

Congress has expelled Republican Representative George Santos of New York over criminal corruption charges and accusations of misspending campaign money.

The vote took place on Friday and passed 311 to 114 with two present votes.

It comes after last month's bipartisan congressional investigation found that he charged almost $4,000 (£3,154) for spa treatments, including Botox, to his congressional campaign account.

He also spent more than $4,000 (£3,154) of campaign money at the luxury retail store Sephora and made "smaller purchases" from OnlyFans, an online platform known for sexual content.

Mr Santos, 35, admitted fabricating much of his biography but denied federal prosecutors' accusations that he laundered campaign funds and defrauded donors - charges he denied.

He fought the expulsion effort leading up to the vote, leading his own defense during House floor debate and in conducting a news conference and interviews.

The evening before the vote, he said: "I will not stand by quietly. The people of the Third District of New York sent me here. If they want me out, you're going to have to go silence those people and go take the hard vote."

Expulsion requires support from two-thirds of the House - a purposefully high bar - but this blistering House Ethics Committee report prompted several Republicans who had previously backed him to say they would support kicking him out.Mr Santos has been mired in controversy since his 2022 election. He survived a previous expulsion attempt in early November, when 182 of his fellow Republicans and 31 Democrats voted against his removal on the grounds that his criminal case should be resolved first.

But things changed with the Ethics Committee report, where the panel said it had amassed "overwhelming evidence" of lawbreaking by Mr Santos that it sent to the Justice Department.

Among other things, the Ethics panel said that Mr Santos knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission, used campaign funds for personal purposes and violated the Ethics in Government Act with his financial disclosure statements.

Arguing against expulsion during a debate on Thursday, Congressman Clay Higgins said that while he respects the Ethics Committee, he had concerns about how the case was handled. He said he was troubled that a Republican-led committee would submit a report that was so judgmental and publicised.

"The totality of circumstance appears biased - it stinks of politics and I'll oppose this action in every way," he said.

While the Ethics Committee does have a Republican chairman, its membership is evenly divided.

Rep. Susan Wild, the ranking Democrat on the committee, reminded members that the decision approving the investigators' findings was unanimous.

She said: "As the Ethics Committee's report lays out in thorough detail, Mr. Santos has repeatedly, egregiously and brazenly violated the public's trust.

"Mr Santos is not a victim. He is a perpetrator of a massive fraud on his constituents and the American people."

Without Mr Santos' seat, Republicans' already slim 222-213 majority would narrow further. His district, which includes parts of New York City and Long Island, is seen as competitive.