U.S. Representatives Anthony D’Esposito and Nick LaLota — George Santos’s Long Island colleagues — have been outspoken about the need to expel Santos from the House of Representatives. In fact, D’Esposito, whose district represents the South Shore of Nassau County, was the first House Republican to call for Santos’s resignation, doing so in early January when most Republicans had been silent on the matter at the time. LaLota, whose district encompasses the North Shore of Suffolk County, joined D’Esposito in this demand shortly thereafter.
But given the chance to vote directly on the matter of his expulsion, the pair chose to refer Santos to the House Ethics Committee.
Last week, House Democrats offered a resolution to expel Santos. When the vote got to the floor, the House voted to refer the matter with the final tally being 221-204.
The explanations LaLota and D’Esposito have given for their votes is that it does not mean they want Santos to remain in office, but rather, that referring the decision to the committee is a better way to go about the congressman’s expulsion.
“And I am personally in favor of this individual’s expulsion from this house. Regrettably, however, I’m in the understanding that we currently do not have the two-thirds support from members in this house to expel that individual,” said D’Esposito on the House floor prior to the vote. “I believe that this individual is a stain on this institution, a stain on the state of New York, a stain on Long Island and a stain on the beloved Nassau County.”
LaLota spoke in support of D’Esposito after the vote had passed.
“While I would have preferred there to be enough votes to expel the sociopath scam artist, Congressman D’Esposito has spearheaded the next best option — to refer this matter to the Ethics Committee, where we expect a result within 60 days for the terrible liar to be gone, by resignation or expulsion, before August recess,” said LaLota in a statement.
LaLota and D’Esposito’s other Long Island colleague, Andrew Garbarino, who represents the South Shore of Suffolk, has been silent on the subject of Santos — for no other reason than the fact that Garbarino sits on the Ethics Committee.
But Garbarino expressed support for LaLota and D’Esposito’s vote, saying that sending it to the committee is the right move politically.
“No previous vote for expulsion of a member from the House has occurred without an accompanying report from the Ethics Committee or another select committee set up to review said expulsion resolution,” said Garbarino in a statement. “The Ethics Committee is best positioned to investigate this matter. I’m reserving all other judgment until the investigation is complete.”
The trio, occasionally referred to as the “Long Island Three,” have actively refused to work with Santos on anything. When Santos introduced a bill — the SALT Relief Act — that would raise the state and local tax cap to $50,000, D’Esposito, LaLota, and Garbarino did not co-sponsor it. In fact, the three introduced their own relief bill, the SALT Deductibility Act of 2023. SALT Relief has been, according to his office, a priority of Garbarino for a long time.