Threat of Se­nate ex­pul­sion is real, but do­ing so is rare

If Roy Moore were elected and then ousted, he’d join a very short list

Los Angeles Times - - NEWS - By Michael Fin­negan michael.fin­negan @la­times.com Twit­ter: @finneganLAT

Ex­pul­sion from the U.S. Se­nate is rare, but Roy Moore’s re­fusal to drop his run for an Alabama seat amid sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions has led fel­low Repub­li­cans to sug­gest kick­ing him out of Congress be­fore the elec­tion even takes place.

If he wins the Dec. 12 elec­tion to fill the seat va­cated by Atty. Gen. Jeff Ses­sions and winds up ex­pelled, Moore would be­come the first se­na­tor bounced from of­fice for sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Only 15 se­na­tors have been tossed out by their col­leagues. The last ex­pul­sion was in 1862.

Since then, about a dozen se­na­tors have faced ex­pul­sion pro­ceed­ings, mainly for cor­rup­tion. Some have re­signed be­fore a fi­nal vote, but none was ousted.

Who has called for Moore’s ex­pul­sion?

Colorado Sen. Cory Gard­ner, whose voice car­ries a lot of weight in the Repub­li­can Party. As chair­man of the Na­tional Repub­li­can Se­na­to­rial Com­mit­tee, Gard­ner over­sees cam­paign fundrais­ing for the Se­nate GOP ma­jor­ity.

The com­mit­tee ended its fundrais­ing agree­ment with Moore last week. On Mon­day, the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee ter­mi­nated its own fundrais­ing pact with Moore.

Se­nate GOP leader Mitch McCon­nell and other party lead­ers have called on Moore to end his can­di­dacy fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct when he was in his 30s. He was ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a 14-yearold girl, sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 16-year-old girl and mak­ing ad­vances on three other teenage girls.

Moore has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and vowed to stay in the race. With un­cer­tain prospects for a late write-in can­di­dacy by an­other Repub­li­can, ex­pul­sion is a last-re­sort so­lu­tion de­signed to spare the party the em­bar­rass­ment of seat­ing Moore in the Se­nate.

Two other Repub­li­cans, Sens. Jeff Flake of Ari­zona and Todd Young of In­di­ana, have also sup­ported the idea.

How can the Se­nate over­turn vot­ers’ will?

The Con­sti­tu­tion em­pow­ers each house of Congress to pun­ish mem­bers for dis­or­derly be­hav­ior. To ex­pel a mem­ber re­quires a two-thirds vote of the Se­nate or House.

What led to the 15 ex­pul­sions?

The Se­nate ousted 14 mem­bers in 1861 and 1862 for sup­port­ing the Con­fed­er­ate re­bel­lion in the Civil War. One of those ex­pul­sions was re­versed af­ter the se­na­tor died.

The other se­na­tor who was ousted — for trea­son — was Wil­liam Blount of Ten­nessee in 1797.

Which se­na­tors dodged ex­pul­sion?

One of the best known is Repub­li­can Sen. Bob Pack­wood of Ore­gon. He re­signed in 1995 as it be­came clear he would al­most cer­tainly be ex­pelled for sex­ual ha­rass­ment and other mis­con­duct.

Pack­wood’s mis­treat­ment of women — grab­bing them and kiss­ing them force­fully against their will, among other things — was laid out in graphic de­tail in a Novem­ber 1992 ar­ti­cle in the Washington Post.

The ef­fort to boot Pack­wood started with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Se­nate Ethics Com­mit­tee, then led by McCon­nell.

“There was a ha­bit­ual pat­tern of ag­gres­sive, bla­tantly sex­ual ad­vances, mostly di­rected at mem­bers of his own staff or oth­ers whose liveli­hoods were con­nected in some way to his power and au­thor­ity as a se­na­tor,” McCon­nell said at the time.

Demo­cratic Sen. Har­ri­son A. Wil­liams Jr. of New Jer­sey was on the verge of get­ting thrown out of of­fice when he quit in 1982. He’d been con­victed in the Ab­scam kick­back scan­dal, and the Se­nate Ethics Com­mit­tee had unan­i­mously rec­om­mended his ouster.

One of the most leg­endary se­na­tors to face ex­pul­sion pro­ceed­ings was Huey Long, the Demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal boss from Louisiana.

In 1934, Long was ac­cused of elec­tion fraud. He sur­vived the Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion and was as­sas­si­nated in 1935.

In 1919, Repub­li­can Sen. Robert M. La Fol­lette of Wis­con­sin faced pos­si­ble ex­pul­sion for de­nounc­ing Amer­i­can par­tic­i­pa­tion in World War I. The Se­nate voted to dis­miss the case.

Also note­wor­thy was the re­li­gious free­dom drama of Sen. Reed Smoot of Utah, a prom­i­nent Mor­mon. As soon as the Repub­li­can took of­fice in 1903, Protes­tant min­is­ters and oth­ers al­leged that his faith dis­qual­i­fied him from serv­ing. They cited Mor­mons’ his­tory of polygamy, even though it had re­nounced the prac­tice by that time.

Af­ter an ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion that served as a proxy trial of the Mor­mon Church it­self, a Se­nate com­mit­tee deemed Smoot un­qual­i­fied to serve in Congress.

But the full Se­nate, with the en­cour­age­ment of Pres­i­dent Theodore Roo­sevelt, re­jected the at­tempt to ex­pel Smoot, whose per­sonal con­duct no one had ques­tioned. Smoot served in the Se­nate for 30 years.

Nathaniel Harari CQ-Roll Call

SEN. BOB PACK­WOOD (R-Ore.) re­signed in 1995 af­ter a Se­nate panel, then led by McCon­nell, rec­om­mended he be ex­pelled for sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Chip So­mod­ev­illa Getty Images

REPUB­LI­CAN Sens. Cory Gard­ner, left, and Mitch McCon­nell, the ma­jor­ity leader, right, are among those in the party urg­ing Moore to end his can­di­dacy.

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