Nov 27, 2023

History of U.S. House of Representative Expulsions Transcript

History of U.S. House of Representative Expulsions Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsGeorge SantosHistory of U.S. House of Representative Expulsions Transcript

Only five times in history has a member of the U.S. House of Representatives been expelled. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

George Santos (00:00):

I must warn my colleagues that voting for expulsion at this point would circumvent the judicial system’s right to due process that I’m entitled to.

Narrator (00:14):

In the entire history of the United States, only five members of the House of Representatives have been expelled. George Santos, a New York Republican, is the most recent representative to be facing expulsion.

George Santos (00:25):

I hope that the House will understand the scope of this vote and have the courage to do what is right, not what is politically expedient.

Narrator (00:34):

This comes after a scathing report by the House Ethics Committee that found that Santos used campaign dollars for his own personal enrichment. House investigators said their months-long probe of the New York Congressman revealed a complex web of unlawful activity. Santos was also hit with federal charges from prosecutors earlier this year, including wire fraud and money laundering, to which he’s pleaded not guilty.

Ray Smock (00:58):

The Santos thing is very, very significant and it has some interesting wrinkles. They’ve attempted to expel him twice, and I think a lot of the opposition has been because he hasn’t been convicted. He’s been indicted but hadn’t been convicted. But now the Ethics Committee has done a major investigation. The constitution simply says, a two-thirds vote is what’s necessary. The House is the judge of its own members.

Narrator (01:24):

Many House members threatened with expulsion choose to resign before the gavel comes down, keeping the expulsion rate low. It’s also kept low by the elusive and necessary two-thirds vote. Getting the majority of the legislative body to agree on ousting a member is no easy feat. The last time a US representative was expelled was in 2002.

James Traficant (01:43):

And I expect to be treated with respect.

Narrator (01:46):

When the house voted 420-to-1 to force out Ohio Democrat James Traficant.

James Traficant (01:51):

And I shall demand that.

Narrator (01:53):

Traficant’s two decade career in Congress ended after being convicted in federal court on multiple charges, including bribery, conspiracy and income tax evasion.

Speaker 5 (02:02):

Are you going to resign?

Speaker 6 (02:03):

Are you going to resign?

James Traficant (02:04):

I’ve never been a quitter. I don’t think I’ll quit now.

Narrator (02:06):

Prior to the downfall of Traficant, came the expulsion of Pennsylvania Democrat Michael Ozzie Myers in 1980.

Ray Smock (02:13):

It was called the Abscam scandal. It was FBI agents who were posing as Arab sheiks who were supposed to bribe members of Congress, see if they would take bribes. And of course, some of them took bribes. Ozzie Myers was one of them. We have him on tape taking $50,000 in a big fat envelope.

Video (02:36):

Spend it well. [inaudible 00:02:38] whatever.


Narrator (02:39):

The other three House expulsions all came in 1861 with the outbreak of the American Civil War. Missouri’s John Clark and John Reid and Kentucky’s Henry Burnett were all deemed disloyal to the Union for their involvement with the Confederacy. Unsurprisingly, they got the boot.

Santos has already stated that he will not resign, adding that with only one year left in his term, he will also not be seeking reelection. So will Santos be the sixth representative expelled from the House? That’s up to Congress to decide.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.