House Republicans today blocked a vote to remove embattled Rep. George Santos from Congress today, voting along party lines, to send an expulsion resolution to the Ethics Committee.
A group of Democratic lawmakers tried to toss Santos from his seat one week after the Justice Department announced a 13-count indictment against the New York congressman, who has become a national punch line after getting caught lying about his background as a candidate last year.
By sending the matter to the Ethics Committee, Republicans were able to sidestep an up-or-down vote on making Santos just the sixth Member of Congress in U.S. history to be expelled.
New Jersey’s three Republicans voted for the ethics panel referral.
“While the FBI continues their investigation of Rep. Santos, today Congressman Kean voted to direct the bipartisan House Ethics Committee to further investigate the charges and conduct,” said Dan Scharfenberger, a spokesman for freshman Rep. Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield). “Representative Kean has been clear that Rep. Santos has violated the public’s trust and does not deserve to serve in the Congress.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used today’s vote to criticize Kean, one of their prime targets in 2004 as they seek to win New Jersey’s 7th district back.
“Tom Kean Jr. voted to protect the lies, deceit, and disgrace of George Santos in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said DCCC spokesman Tommy Garcia. “Kean Jr. is too weak to stand up to his Washington party bosses – and New Jerseyans will remember.”
But the DCCC attack on Kean drew a sharp rebuke from a former 7th district congressman.
“I think that’s appalling. If I had been in Congress, I would have voted as Congressman Kean had voted,” said former Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township), who served from 2009 to 2019. “My views on this are based to a significant degree on my service on the House Ethics Committee.”
Lance was the only New Jerseyan in more than 30 years to serve on the Ethics Committee.