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Ohio's James Traficant was last U.S. House member expelled from Congress prior to George Santos

Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant Jr.
Tony Dejak
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2010, file photo, former U.S. Rep. James Traficant Jr. talks about politics at a diner in Boardman, Ohio. Traficant, who spent time in prison on corruption and racketeering charges, has died after being critically injured in a tractor accident at his northeast Ohio home. He was 73. Dave Betras, the Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman, says Traficant died Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 in the hospital. Betras says he was notified by the Traficant family attorney.

On Friday, George Santos became the sixth U.S. House member in history to be expelled from Congress. The most recent member of the U.S. House to be expelled from the chamber was Rep. James Traficant, of Ohio.

Members of the House of Representatives voted 311 to 114 to expel the Santos, a Republican from New York.

Santos is accused by prosecutors of several crimes, including reimbursing himself for loans to his congressional campaign that he appears to have never actually made — in essence, stealing money from campaign donors.

Before Santos, Traficant was the last U.S. House member to be expelled in July 2002. Traficant represented the Youngstown area as a part of Ohio's 17th District in Congress for 17 years.

According to an NPR article from 2014, Traficant, a Democrat, was expelled from Congress after he was convicted on charges of racketeering, bribery and tax evasion. He was sentenced to an eight-year prison term and was released in September 2009, after serving seven years, according to the Canton Repository.

Following his time in prison, Traficant attempted to return to the U.S. House in 2010 as an Independent, but was defeated by Democrat Tim Ryan, who succeeded him as representative of Ohio's 17th District in 2002.

Traficant died in September 2014 at the age of 73, after he was injured in a farming accident.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives' History, Art & Archives, the first three members of U.S. House members to be expelled were John B. Clark and John. W. Reid of Missouri and Henry C. Burnett of Kentucky in 1861 on charges of being disloyal to the Union and fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The fourth person to be expelled was Michael Myers of Pennslyvania in 1980, after he was convicted of bribery.

According to the U.S. Senate's website, 15 senators have been expelled from the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress. The last senator to be expelled was Jesse D. Bright, a Democrat from Indiana in 1862 for supporting the Confederate rebellion in the U.S. Civil War.

In addition to the expulsions, a total of 26 U.S. House members have been censured, while another 11 U.S. House members have been reprimanded.

Jared Clayton Brown joined the WOSU News team in November 2022. He spent seven years working for the Fox and NBC affiliate stations in Louisville and three years with the CBS affiliate station in Columbus.