George Santos
Santos was expelled from Congress AFP

Former U.S. Representative George Santos announced on Thursday he's seeking to return to the Lower House, only a few months after being expelled from it for violating campaign finance laws.

Santos did so during a surprise appearance at the 2024 State of the Union, something he can do as a former member of Congress, according to Axios. He would have been prevented from doing so if he was convicted of a crime, which is not the case at the moment. He does face 23 federal charges at the moment, including conspiracy, wire fraud and defrauding campaign donors.

The former congressman plans to run in NY-01, a district different to the one for which he was elected initially in 2022, NY-04. He is set to challenge Nick LaLota, who voted to expel him from Congress.

"New York hasn't had a real conservative represent them since I left office arbitrarily, thanks to RINO, empty suits like Nick LaLota. He is willing to risk the future of our majority and the future of this country for his own political gain," reads a passage of Santos' message. "I look forward to debating him on the issues and on his weak record as a Republican. The fight for our majority is imperative for the survival of the country," he added.

LaLota quickly picked up the glove with a fundraising post: "To raise the standard in Congress, and to hold a pathological liar who stole an election accountable, I led the charge to expel George Santos. If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in."

Santos was expelled from the House in December after House Ethics Committee released a report detailing that Santos violated campaign finance laws during his election campaign. The House of Representatives voted 311 to 114 in favor of the motion.

As for the federal charges, Santos is also accused of misleading the Federal Election Commission and the National Republican Party committee by producing falsified financial documents with inflated campaign fundraising numbers.

Another indictment alleges that Santos stole money from his contributors' credit cards. According to the DoJ, he attempted to charge a contributor's credit card for $44,800. In another instance, he transferred $12,000 from a different contributor's credit card to his personal bank account. The stolen money was labeled as donations from his family.

Even before the charges came to light, Santos was under immense pressure from his Capitol Hill colleagues for allegedly lying about his work experience and about his connection to the Holocaust, as well as cheating a homeless veteran out of thousands of dollars that were donated to cover medical expenses for his service dog. He was also accused of sexual misconduct by a former aide.

His seat was taken by Democrat Tom Suozzi in a special election in mid-February. Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Pilip and is serving the remainder of Santos' term.

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