A Matter of Conscience

Published: December 1, 2023

By Jim Lichtman
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Santos being sworn into office. AP photo/Alex Brandon


After months of disturbing reports regarding Representative George Santos’s lies, fraud, money laundering and other offenses, the New York Republican has been removed from office.

What’s next? New York Governor Kathy Hochul will now begin the process of a special election to replace the missing seat in the House.

The Senate should now focus on the expulsion of Senator Robert Menendez who, along with his wife, have been indicted on bribery charges. The Democratic Senator from New Jersey was found to have $500,000 in cash and gold bars when FBI agents raided his home in September. It’s not clear how soon the Senate will take up the process of expelling Menendez. 

Today is get-out-of-the-House vote day for New York US Representative George Santos. It’s also a day where we will clearly see if a majority of House Republicans do the right thing.

In a radical statement from an extreme head of a radical part of the House GOP, “Speaker Mike Johnson expressed reservations Wednesday about expelling Rep. George Santos from the House this week but said he and other GOP leaders will not push colleagues to oppose removing the New York Republican from office. ‘We’re going to allow people to vote their conscience,’ Johnson said,” The Hill reported.

For the record, CBS News reports that Santos is charged with:

  • one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States
  • two counts of wire fraud
  • two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission
  • two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC
  • two counts of aggravated identity theft
  • one count of access device fraud
  • seven counts of wire fraud
  • three counts of money laundering
  • one count of theft of public funds
  • two counts of making materially false statements to the United States House of Representatives

Santos, of course, believes the whole debacle is political “theater” and “bullying.”

“And so what we’ve said as the leadership team is we’re going to allow people to vote their conscience, which I think is the only appropriate thing we can do,” Johnson said. “We’ve not whipped the vote, and we wouldn’t. I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this. I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set.”

Vote their conscience.

Where was that conscience on the January 6th investigation?

Where was that conscience during the second of two impeachment trials where overwhelming evidence showed that former President Trump incited insurrection at the Capitol?

Conscience, Mr. Johnson, implies integrity, principles, honor.

When was the last time a majority of House Republicans acted honorably?

Well, today is their chance. Today, we’ll find out who’s honorable and who’s not.


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