Former Texas Congressman facing prison, six-figure fines

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Steve Stockman

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman was investigated by the House of Representatives Ethics Committee in 2014 for possibly violating campaign finance reporting requirements.

That year he also lost his long-shot bid to unseat U.S. Senator John Cornyn.

But Stockman’s worst day may have been earlier this month when he was arrested by the FBI as he was boarding a plane for the United Arab Emirates to help Sunni Muslims. He is accused by federal prosecutors of fleecing $775,000 from from conservative foundations.

Stockman’s March 16 arrest and the details about the charges were first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

One example of Stockman’s alleged scam, according to the Chronicle:

“In court documents filed with the criminal complaint, (an) FBI agent said that shortly after Stockman took office for the second time in January 2013, he solicited a $350,000 donation from an unidentified “wealthy businessman” from Chicago on behalf of a Las Vegas-based nonprofit, Life Without Limits, which had been set up to help people through traumatic events.

The donation ostensibly was for renovation of a so-called Freedom House to serve as a meeting and training facility in Washington, D.C. The businessman’s charitable organization issued a check the same day.

Instead of going to the house project, however, the check was deposited six few days later in a Webster bank account set up by Stockman doing business as Life Without Limits – an account that had a balance of only $33.48 at the time, according to the agent.”

Stockman used the cash for campaign expenses and to pay credit card bills, prosecutors allege.

Details of Stockman’s alleged scheme were outlined in a plea deal signed by a former campaign worker who also served as a special assistant in Stockman’s Congressional office.

Stockman said he is innocent of the charges, and blamed a “deep state” shadow government conspiracy for his arrest, according to the Chronicle and the Texas Tribune.

Stockman served as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 9th congressional district from 1995 to 1997 and for Texas’s 36th congressional district from 2013 to 2015. The Texas 36th covers a small slice of Houston and extends east, covering Baytown, Liberty, and extends to the Louisiana border.

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Trent is an award-winning editor and reporter, who has previously worked The Denver Post, The (Nashville) Tennessean, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Most recently, he was the investigative producer for Houston’s KTRK-TV ABC-13. He was also the editor and founder of Texas Watchdog, a ground-breaking news group that paved the way for this project. Trent is a teacher of journalism skills, and has shown hundreds of reporters and citizen-journalists how to use public records, databases and journalism tools to keep a watchful eye on their own local government.

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