A federal judge ruled on Tuesday in favor of releasing the names of individuals who covered the $500,000 bail for Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) after his recent indictment on a series of alleged financial crimes ranging from getting unemployment assistance for which he wasn’t eligible to deceiving the House of Representatives about his personal financial state.
This judge, however, provided Santos with a brief window of time to make an appeal in District Court before the names were actually released. Outside media organizations including The New York Times sought the release of the information, and only Santos’s team intervened in opposition. It doesn’t appear as though these individuals were responsible for paying the full dollar amount associated with Santos’s bail, as instead of a cash bond, his case seemingly ended up with a plan involving multiple sureties, which is a term that refers to individuals who agreed to take on a risk of additional financial obligation if Santos doesn’t show up.
Joseph Murray, a lawyer for Santos, has alleged that whoever provided their support to secure Santos’s bail could face threats to their safety if their identifying details were made public. He also revealed that the House Ethics Committee, which is an evenly split bipartisan committee in Congress that handles weighty investigations, had begun its own look at Santos’s bail arrangements, asking for information just recently to examine whether Santos violated rules about members of Congress receiving gifts while obtaining the support. The Ethics panel explicitly asked that Santos identify the other individuals who signed on for his bail, though so far, the committee evidently hasn’t obtained that information, as Murray reportedly cited the legal proceedings in response.
They’d obviously be able to use the details in their investigation if they’re made public in coming days.
Santos, whose allegations also include money laundering and wire fraud, with the case against him including claims of purported donations in support of his political ambitions actually going to a personal company and personal expenses of his, has until Friday to appeal the judge’s decision. He doesn’t really do much in Congress, as he doesn’t even have any roles on committees, and considering the already documented groundswell of opposition in his district, he’s unlikely to return to the chamber after 2024 — though he’s running for re-election!