House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he would like to refer the issue of accusations against Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) to the House Ethics Committee to consider.
“I don’t want to wait around for the courts to act,” McCarthy told reporters on May 16.
“What I would like to do is have the house take action and have a process here. So let’s send it to ethics, which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. I think they could do this work rather rapidly and come back and report to the full House.”
The House Speaker also reiterated previous comments that there is “a process” and Santos, like other lawmakers who have been accused of crimes, is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Pressure on House Republicans to take action against Santos increased earlier that day when Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) tried to force a vote on a resolution to expel the New York lawmaker.
The first-term Republican congressman was charged with 13 federal crimes last week following an unrelated accusation of sexual misconduct and his own admission that he lied to constituents about his background.
“I’m starting the process of forcing a floor vote on our resolution to expel George Santos from the U.S. House of Representatives,” Garcia said on Twitter. “Republicans will now have a chance to demonstrate to the American people that an admitted liar and criminal should not serve in Congress.
“George Santos is a fraud and a liar, and he needs to be expelled by the House,” Garcia said in his statement posted to Twitter.
“News that federal prosecutors are filing 13 criminal charges against George Santos should have been the final straw for Kevin McCarthy, but he refuses to act.”
Garcia’s resolution is privileged, meaning that according to the House Rules and Precedents, the Republican-controlled House must take it up within the next two days. To pass and remove Santos from Congress would require a two-thirds majority vote, which would require significant bipartisan support.
Santos was arrested on May 10 involving an alleged scheme involving fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.
The 13-count indictment, unsealed on May 10, charges Santos with defrauding prospective political supporters by laundering funds to pay for his personal expenses and illegally receiving unemployment benefits while employed.
Prosecutors also allege that he made false statements to the House of Representatives regarding his assets, income, and liabilities.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement.
Santos’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Ross Muscato contributed to this report.