The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 5)gives the House of Representatives the power to expel any member by a two-thirds vote. Expulsion of a Representative is rare: only five members of the House have been expelled in its history. Three of those five were expelled in 1861 for joining the Confederate States of America.
However, the House has other, less severe measures with which to discipline members. Censure and reprimand are procedures in which the House may vote to express formal disapproval of a member's conduct. Only a simple majority vote is required. Members who are censured must stand in the well of the House chamber to receive a reading of the censure resolution.A reprimand was once considered synonymous with censure, but in 1976 the House defined a reprimand as a less severe punishment. Members who are reprimanded are not required to stand in the well of the house and have the resolution read to them.
|1861||John B. Clark||Democratic||Missouri||Supporting Confederate rebellion.|
|1861||John W. Reid||Democratic||Missouri|
|1861||Henry C. Burnett||Democratic||Kentucky|
|1980||Michael J. Myers||Democratic||Pennsylvania||Convicted of bribery in the Abscam scandal.|
|2002||James Traficant||Democratic||Ohio||Convicted on ten counts including bribery, conspiracy to defraud the United States, corruption, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, and racketeering.|
|1832||William Stanbery||National Republican||Ohio||Insulting the Speaker of the House.|
|1842||Joshua Giddings||Whig Party||Ohio||Introduced anti-slavery resolution deemed to be incendiary, and violating the gag rule prohibiting discussion of slavery.|
|1856||Laurence M. Keitt||Democratic||South Carolina||Assisted in the caning of Charles Sumner.|
|1864||Benjamin G. Harris||Democratic||Maryland||Making statements supporting the Confederacy.|
|1864||Alexander Long||Democratic||Ohio||Supported recognition of the Confederacy.|
|1866||John W. Chanler||Democratic||New York||Insulted the House with a resolution containing unparliamentary language.|
|1866||Lovell Rousseau||Unconditional Unionist||Kentucky||Assaulting Rep. Josiah Grinnell on the floor of the House.|
|1867||John W. Hunter||Democratic||New York||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1868||Fernando Wood||Democratic||New York||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1869||Edward D. Holbrook||Democratic||Idaho Territory||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1870||Benjamin Whittemore||Republican||South Carolina|
Selling military academy appointments.
|1870||John T. Deweese||Republican||North Carolina|
|1873||Oakes Ames||Republican||Massachusetts||Involvement in the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal.|
|1873||James Brooks||Democratic||New York|
|1875||John Y. Brown||Democratic||Kentucky||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1890||William D. Bynum||Democratic||Indiana||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1921||Thomas L. Blanton||Democratic||Texas||Using unparliamentary language.|
|1979||Charles Diggs||Democratic||Michigan||Payroll fraud and mail fraud.|
|1980||Charles H. Wilson||Democratic||California||Improper use of campaign funds.|
|1983||Daniel B. Crane||Republican||Illinois||Engaging in sexual conduct with a House page.|
|2010||Charles B. Rangel||Democratic||New York||Improper solicitation of funds, making inaccurate financial disclosure statements, and failure to pay taxes.|
|1976||Robert L. F. Sikes||Democratic||Florida||381–3 (with 5 "present" votes)||Use of office for personal gain.|
|1978||Charles H. Wilson||Democratic||California||328–41 (with 29 "present" votes)||Role in South Korean influence-buying scandal.|
|1978||John J. McFall||Democratic||California||Voice vote||Role in South Korean influence-buying scandal.|
|1978||Edward Roybal||Democratic||California||Voice vote||Role in South Korean influence-buying scandal.|
|1984||George V. Hansen||Republican||Idaho||354–52 (with 6 "present" votes)||False statements on a financial disclosure form.|
|1987||Austin J. Murphy||Democratic||Pennsylvania||324–68 (with 20 "present" votes)||Allowed another person to cast his vote, and misused House funds.|
|1990||Barney Frank||Democratic||Massachusetts||408–18||Used office to fix 33 parking tickets on behalf of a friend and wrote a misleading memorandum on behalf of the friend to shorten his probation for criminal convictions.|
|1995||Bob Dornan||Republican||California||Criticism of President Bill Clinton as having "g[iven] aid and comfort to the enemy" during the Vietnam war in a floor speech. Dornan's remarks were stricken from the official record and he was banned from speaking on the House floor for 24 hours.|
|1997||Newt Gingrich||Republican||Georgia||395–28||Use of a tax-exempt organization for political purposes, and providing false information to the House Ethics Committee.|
|2009||Joe Wilson||Republican||South Carolina||240–179 (with five "present" votes)||Making an outburst towards President Barack Obama during a speech to a joint session of Congress.|
|2012||Laura Richardson||Democratic||California||Voice vote||Compelling her congressional office staff to work for her 2010 election campaign and perform personal errands; also fined $10,000.|
|2020||David Schweikert||Republican||Arizona||Voice vote||Permitting his office to misuse taxpayer funds and various violations of campaign finance reporting requirements, federal law and House rules.|
|1899||Brigham Henry Roberts||Democratic||Utah||Denied seat for his practice of polygamy|
|1919||Victor L. Berger||Socialist||Wisconsin||Denied seat on basis of opposition to World War I and conviction under the Espionage Act, the Supreme Court later overturned the conviction|
|1920||Victor L. Berger||Socialist||Wisconsin||After being denied a seat the first time, Wisconsin's 5th congressional district reelected Berger a second time in a special election, to which Congress again refused to seat Berger, leaving the seat open until 1921|
|1967||Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.||Democratic||New York||Mismanaging his committee's budget in previous Congress, excessive absenteeism, misuse of public funds Powell was reelected to the seat for one more term.|
State and local politics:
James Anthony Traficant Jr. was a Democratic, and later independent, politician and member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio. He represented the 17th Congressional District, which centered on his hometown of Youngstown and included parts of three counties in northeast Ohio's Mahoning Valley. He was expelled from the House after being convicted of 10 felony counts including taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering, and forcing his Congressional staff to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and houseboat in Washington, D.C. He was sentenced to prison and released on September 2, 2009, after serving a seven-year sentence.
A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, or a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition. It is usually non-binding, unlike a motion of no confidence.
The 1983 Congressional Page sex scandal was a political scandal in the United States involving members of the United States House of Representatives.
Gerry Eastman Studds was an American Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts who served from 1973 until 1997. He was the first openly gay member of Congress. In 1983 he was censured by the House of Representatives after he admitted to a consensual relationship with a 17-year-old page.
Harrison Arlington "Pete" Williams Jr. was an American Democratic politician who represented New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives (1953–1957) and the United States Senate (1959–1982). Williams was convicted on May 1, 1981, for taking bribes in the Abscam sting operation, and resigned from the U.S. Senate in 1982 before a planned expulsion vote.
Daniel Bever Crane was an American dentist and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1983, he was censured by the House for having sex with a 17-year-old page.
John Joseph McFall was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the state of California, rising to the position of House Majority Whip.
Michael Joseph "Ozzie" Myers is an American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Democratic Party. During his tenure in the House of Representatives he became involved in the Abscam scandal and was later expelled from the House of Representatives. In 2020, he was indicted for election fraud.
George Vernon Hansen was a Republican politician from the state of Idaho. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, representing Idaho's 2nd district from 1965 to 1969 and again from 1975 to 1985.
Charles Herbert Wilson was a California Democratic politician from the Los Angeles area. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1963 to 1981.
Censure is a formal, and public, group condemnation of an individual, often a group member, whose actions run counter to the group's acceptable standards for individual behavior. In the United States, governmental censure is done when a body's members wish to publicly reprimand the President of the United States, a member of Congress, a judge or a cabinet member. It is a formal statement of disapproval.
Austin John Murphy was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania from 1977 to 1995.
Laura Richardson is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for California's 37th congressional district from 2007 to 2013. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
Richard Thomas Hanna was a U.S. Representative from California. He became involved in a scandal dubbed Koreagate by accepting bribes from a businessman working for the South Korean government. He was found guilty, reigned his seat, and served 6 to 30 months in prison.
Thomas Lindsay Blanton was a United States Representative from Texas. He was a member of the Democratic Party.
Expulsion is the most serious form of disciplinary action that can be taken against a Member of Congress. The United States Constitution provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." The processes for expulsion differ somewhat between the House of Representatives and the Senate.