An Ohio Republican who got into a contentious exchange with now-former New York congressman George Santos said he called himself a “victim” of the expelled Empire State representative because Mr Santos’s campaign ran up massive fake tabs on credit cards belonging to him and his mother.
In a letter distributed to fellow House members ahead of the historic vote to expel Mr Santos, Representative Max Miller said the ex-freshman representative’s 2022 campaign “had charged my personal credit card — and the personal card of my Mother — for contribution amounts that exceeded FEC limits”.
“Neither my Mother nor I approved these charges or were aware of them,” he continued, adding that he has expended “tens of thousands of dollars” in legal fees while trying to resolve the situation.
Mr Miller sent the letter explaining the allegations on Friday morning, not long before 311 House members voted to make Mr Santos the first member of the House to be expelled since 2002, when the lower chamber kicked out Ohio Representative James Traficant following his conviction on multiple felony charges.
“While I understand and respect the position of those who will vote against the expulsion resolution, my personal experience related to the allegations and findings of the Ethics Committee compels me to vote for the resolution,” Mr Miller said.
The vote to expel Mr Santos was the third such attempt to remove him from Congress, with another vote having taken place earlier in November at the behest of several New York Republicans, as well as another unsuccessful effort led by Democrats in May.
The former congressman attracted widespread attention and ridicule after it became known that much of what he had claimed as his life story during his 2022 campaign had been made up out of whole cloth.
Other alleged misdeeds have resulted in him facing a federal indictment in his home state of New York on charges of identity theft, theft of public funds and money laundering related to campaign donations. He is scheduled to be tried starting in September.
While many House members had held off on voting to remove him because he has not been convicted of any crime as of yet, the push to remove him picked up new steam on the heels of a House Ethics Committee report detailing the extent of his alleged misdeeds, including filing false reports with the Federal Election Commission; lying about lending his campaign money in order to qualify for financial support from the National Republican Congressional Committee; and illegally using campaign funds to pay for personal luxury purchases at Sephora, Hermes, and other high-end retailers, as well as charges on OnlyFans, a website frequently used by pornographic performers to sell subscriptions.
Eric Garcia contributed reporting from Capitol Hill