NEW YORK - Rep. George Santos easily survived a vote Wednesday to expel him from the House as most Republicans opted to withhold punishment as both his criminal trial and a House Ethics Committee investigation proceed.
The effort to kick Santos out of the House was led by his fellow New York Republicans, who are anxious to distance themselves from a colleague infamous for fabricating his life story and accused of stealing from donors, lying to Congress, and receiving unemployment benefits he did not deserve.
But the resolution failed to gain the required two-thirds vote. Supporters could not even gain a simple majority, with the vast majority of Republicans and more than 30 Democrats voting against expelling Santos. The final vote was 179 for expulsion and 213 against.
Santos is facing federal prosecution on several charges and has pleaded not guilty. This includes making tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to his campaign donors.
Santos is also accused of lying to Congress about his wealth, falsely applying for unemployment benefits he didn't deserve, and scheming to use campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing. He denies any wrongdoing.
Santos has continued to represent his New York district in Congress since he was charged, rejecting calls for his resignation from several fellow New York Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, who represents a congressional district next to the one that elected Santos, introduced a resolution last week calling for Santos to be expelled from the House, saying he wasn't fit to serve his constituents. He was joined by four other New York Republicans, U.S. Reps. Nick LaLota, Michael Lawler, Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams.
"I will not beg for my constitutional rights. I will let my colleagues make their decision without my interference," Santos tweeted Monday.
FOX 5 NY contributed to this report.