Former Texas congressman accused of diverting charitable donations for personal use
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
HOUSTON (CFP) — Federal prosecutors are blaming former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman and an aide for an ongoing scheme to bilk $1.25 million from charitable foundations and divert it for personal use. But Stockman, in the dock, is blaming the “deep state” for his legal woes.
Stockman, a Republican who served two stints in the House before losing a Senate primary in 2014, is facing charges of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, violating campaign finance laws, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and filing a false tax return with the IRS. The indictment was unsealed March 28.
After his initial court appearance, Stockman proclaimed his innocence and said the “deep state” was trying to exact revenge for his longtime opposition to the IRS as a congressman, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
“This is part of a deep state that’s continuing to progress,” said Stockman, who was arrested at a Houston airport while trying to board a plane bound for the United Arab Emirates.
“Deep state” refers to a conspiracy theory that holds that unelected bureaucrats secretly run the U.S. government.
The indictment alleges that Stockman and an aide, Jason Posey, solicited donations from charitable foundations that they funneled to a web of non-profit groups they had set up, telling donors the funds would be used for “charitable and educational purposes.” Instead, the money was spent on personal expenses and to further Stockman’s political career, according to the indictment.
In all, $1.25 million in fraudulent donations were solicited between 2010 and 2014, according to the indictment.
Stockman, 60, was elected to Congress from a Houston-area district in 1994, on his third try. After two terms in the House, he left to make an unsuccessful bid for the Texas Railroad Commission in 1998.
He returned to Congress in 2013 but gave up his seat after a single term to make a primary run against Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn.
In that campaign, Stockman tried to make the case that Cornyn, as a member of the Republican Senate leadership, had abandoned his conservative principles. But Cornyn crushed him by 40 points.
According to the indictment, some of the money diverted from the charitable groups was used to help Stockman’s Senate bid.