With the House vote to expel GOP New York Rep. George Santos from the chamber, a series of actions are now expected in the chamber and in his state:
In Congress: According to a former member of parliament, expulsion is handled administratively in the same way as a vacancy, including death or resignation. The Clerk of the House assumes control of the office and makes decisions on behalf of that office. They will decide how Santos’ office is disposed of, among other steps. His district office remains intact for constituency needs.
In New York: The Clerk of the House will notify the Governor of New York that there is now a vacancy in New York’s Third District. It’s up to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul to schedule a special election to replace him. New York state law requires the governor to declare a special election within ten days, with the election occurring “not less than seventy days nor more than eighty days” after the proclamation.
However: There is some fungus. Following the resignation of Rep. Tom Reed, the 10-day or 70-80 day parameters for scheduling special elections were not followed. Additionally, a second House vacancy is expected with the impending resignation of House — and New York — Rep. Brian Higgins, who announced his resignation in February, while Hochul may choose to combine those special elections.
Santos has some perks: Unlike previous modern-day evictions — Michael Myers in 1980 and Jim Traficant in 2002 — Santos was not convicted of a crime. House rules Pending a conviction, Santos now retains privileges as a former member of Congress, including access to House Four, the dining room, gym and cloakroom, but no security.
The Discharge Resolution Santos could have forfeited those privileges prior to his sentencing, but there is no clause in the motion to do so. Traficant and Myer were both stripped of their privileges immediately following the eviction vote because they had previously been convicted of crimes they had committed.
But that could change: The council is always changing the rules regarding benefits for ex-members. Privileges for former members were revoked during the Covid-19 pandemic, and site privileges for former members are generally restricted for the State of the Union address. Should Santos 1) be ejected; and 2) we expect a rule change to address that issue if we continue to use privileges as a former member.
Remember: In addition to the ethics committee investigation, Santos pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances in House disclosure statements.