Santos’ tenure in Congress has been scandal-ridden: He initially told bold-faced lies about his education and resume. A recent House Ethics Committee report found substantial evidence that Santos used his House campaign for his own personal benefit, misusing funds and misleading donors. He now faces a 23-count federal indictment that accuses him of stealing the identities of campaign donors and using their credit cards in unauthorized charges.
However, Johnson noted, Santos has not yet been convicted on any of these charges.
“Our party believes in the rule of law and due process,” he said, arguing that expelling Santos was in conflict with Republican values.
Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said during the joint interview that members who supported Santos’ expulsion had expressed concerns over the Ethics committee report’s findings. She dismissed questions about the dent in the already slim Republican majority and expressed optimism that the seat would be filled by another Republican.
“We saw a red wave on Long Island at the local level, so we’re very optimistic that we’ll have a strong candidate to join our Republican majority in February or March,” Stefanik said.