The House Ethics Committee will not call for Representative George Santos’s expulsion as a result of its nearly nine-month investigation, the panel’s chair, Representative Michael Guest, said on Wednesday.
Mr. Guest, a Republican of Mississippi, would not characterize the committee’s findings in its report, which is expected to be released as early as Thursday. But he said that the panel would refrain from making a recommendation as to Mr. Santos’s fate, saying that such a process would have carried out “well into next year.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Guest said that the report should offer members the information they need to make a decision on whether a penalty — be it expulsion or something less severe, like a censure — is appropriate.
The panel has been investigating a range of alleged criminal and ethical violations including accusations that the congressman fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits, failed to properly file financial disclosures, sexually harassed an employee and violated conflict of interest laws.
Mr. Santos has already survived two expulsion attempts in the House. The second of those came just two weeks ago, when a cadre of New York Republicans pushed for a floor vote. That measure was soundly defeated, with numerous Democrats voting not to expel him on the grounds that removal while an ethics investigation and criminal proceeding were underway would set a dangerous precedent.
Some House members, led by a handful of fellow New York Republicans, have said that they would consider another attempt to remove Mr. Santos if the Ethics Committee report found criminal wrongdoing or a severe breach of ethics.
One of those New York Republicans, Representative Nick LaLota of Long Island, said on Wednesday that he would reintroduce a motion to expel Mr. Santos once his colleagues had a chance to digest the report. He said he expected the revived resolution to have a better chance of passing.
Mr. Santos, 35, who represents parts of Long Island and Queens, faces a 23-count federal indictment that includes charges of money laundering, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York have accused Mr. Santos of stealing from his donors and falsifying election campaign filings, among other things.
Mr. Santos has resisted calls for his resignation, and has pleaded not guilty.