Can Someone Be Expelled From Congress?

Two-thirds of the House or Senate must agree to expel a member of Congress.

Congress, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, has the constitutional right to expel its members. In fact, there are two ways that Congress can remove a sitting member: expulsion and impeachment. Regardless of the method, the person most vacate his or her political position if found guilty of the allegations.

1 Expulsion

According to the Constitution, which sets the powers of the government, Congress can create its own rules to decide how to punish members. Persons accused of disorderly behavior can be charged under Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2, of the Constitution. After declaring the charges, Congress can then vote on whether to expel the member. The Constitution requires an affirmative vote from two-thirds of the remaining members to expel someone. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have the sole authority to expel their own members.

2 Impeachment

The other means of expelling a Congressperson is impeachment, a two-part process. The House of Representatives votes on whether to impeach federal officials, including those in Congress. The House must approve the charges, and then the Senate holds a trial. If convicted by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Senate, then the offender must vacate his or her office.

David Kenneth has a Ph.D. in history. His work has been published in "The Journal of Southern History," "The Georgia Historical Quarterly," "The Southern Historian," "The Journal of Mississippi History" and "The Oxford University Companion to American Law." Kenneth has been working as a writer since 1999.