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George Santos

Santos is probably done

New York GOP Rep. George Santos is in real jeopardy of becoming the first member of the House to be expelled since 2002 when then-Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) was booted after being convicted of bribery, tax evasion and other crimes.

“I think he’s toast,” said a senior House Republican of Santos, predicting that members will expel the indicted New York GOP lawmaker when the House returns in early December. “He’s done.”

The House Ethics Committee released a report Thursday alleging that Santos improperly diverted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal uses (Botox! Hermès! Ferragamo!), secretly controlled a company that funneled him more than $176,000 from his campaign, falsified financial disclosure and campaign reports and otherwise brought discredit on the House.

Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.), chair of the Ethics Committee, plans to introduce a privileged resolution today calling for Santos’ removal. Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), ranking member on Ethics, said she’ll support Santos’ expulsion now that the secretive committee’s probe is finished.

Santos announced that he wasn’t going to seek reelection in 2024, but that’s not going to save him from a possible expulsion vote.

Late Thursday night, Santos — who posted a bizarre statement earlier in the day accusing the Ethics Committee of a “disgusting politicized smear” by issuing the report — announced a Nov. 30 press conference on the Capitol steps.

A number of lawmakers who voted against expelling Santos on Nov. 1 are now saying they’ll support a resolution ousting the New York Republican from Congress. CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Haley Talbot have a good tracker of the flips.

Only 24 House GOP lawmakers voted for expelling Santos previously. Yet at least a dozen came out in favor of expulsion on Thursday, and we expect even more today. If all 213 Democrats back expulsion, just 77 Republicans would have to vote yes to make it happen. Our reporting indicates this seems very likely to happen when members return to session next month.

New York Republicans, led by Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Marc Molinaro, Mike Lawler, Nick LaLota and Brandon Williams, want Santos gone and introduced the previous expulsion resolution. Santos is a political problem back home for them, and with redistricting coming, his ouster may actually give them a boost.

And House GOP leaders aren’t giving Santos any cover either.

Speaker Mike Johnson’s office released a statement Thursday evening saying the Ethics Committee’s report was “troubling” and urged lawmakers to “consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further.” Let us translate this for you: “Feel free to vote Santos out.” This could open the floodgates for lawmakers who want to get rid of Santos.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise didn’t comment on the Santos report. Neither did Majority Whip Tom Emmer. It’ll be interesting to see if Scalise and Emmer line up with Johnson here.

NRCC Chair Richard Hudson — who has to manage relationships with every House Republican and their campaigns — was also quiet.

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, the only New Yorker in the GOP leadership, didn’t say anything Thursday. Several aides did not respond to inquiries.

We’ll be watching how conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus break on this issue, as well as rank-and-file Republicans who previously held back due to concerns over whether Santos was being treated fairly.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who had been a no because of process questions, is now in favor of expulsion if Santos doesn’t leave on his own.

“I’m hoping George does the right thing and resigns, leaves Congress. The Thanksgiving break is a great time to do that, clean out his office,” Buck said during an MSNBC interview on Thursday. “I think he’s been given the fair due process now.”

Other GOP switchers include Reps. Greg Murphy (N.C.), Zach Nunn (Iowa), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), Stephanie Bice (Okla.) and Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.). Garbarino is an Ethics Committee member who didn’t vote on the previous expulsion resolution.

Money news: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is no longer speaker of the House, but he’s still doling out cash to the GOP campaign apparatuses.

McCarthy is giving out a total of $3 million today to lawmakers, state parties, the NRCC and CLF, the House GOP-aligned super PAC.

The California Republican is sending another $665,000 to vulnerable House GOP lawmakers, bringing his direct contributions to members to $10.5 million. McCarthy is transferring $20,000 to CLF, which brings his total transfers to the super PAC to $425,000 for the cycle.

In addition, McCarthy is transferring $1.85 million to 20 state parties and $400,000 to the NRCC. McCarthy has sent $23.8 million to the NRCC and state parties this cycle.

— Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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