Rep. Steve Stockman Launches Senate Bid Amid Financial, Ethical Questions
On Monday, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, and will challenge incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the GOP primary. However, newly uncovered information about his financial background and disclosures may cloud his candidacy for the Senate seat.
Stockman was elected in 2012 to represent Texas’s new 36th district. He had previously served a one-term in the U.S. House in the 1990s, winning in 1994 and losing reelection in 1996. In between his terms in the House, Stockman ran unsuccessfully for a variety of offices. He has worked as a political consultant in and around the conservative movement.
In a Nov. 25, 2013, report, the Houston Chronicle’s Lise Olsen and Will Tucker raised several questions about Stockman’s U.S. House financial disclosure forms.
“Stockman failed to file a federal disclosure form during his candidacy in 2012 when he ran for the newly created District 36,” Olsen and Tucker wrote. “Every other Texan in Congress, whether incumbent or freshman, filed a report in 2012. Stockman already was serving as a U.S. Representative when in April and May 2013 he submitted bare-bones reports for his candidacy, nearly a year after the deadline. Those listed all of his income in 2011 and 2012 as $350,000 in salary and fees from an unexplained entity called ‘Presidential Trust Marketing.’ He then filed two more disclosures as a Congressman, in June and September.”
Stockman has refused to answer any of the Chronicle’s questions about this matter, so Breitbart News asked him about the issue when it had the opportunity to interview him about his Senate bid.
Stockman claimed during his interview with Breitbart News that the Houston Chronicle was “making up” information and facts that were not actually on the financial disclosure forms he filed with the U.S. House of Representatives. “That’s inaccurate,” Stockman said when asked about the company “Presidential Trust Marketing” and about the $350,000 he allegedly made from it. “You pull the report. It doesn’t match what they say. They insistently say $350,000. It’s like, ‘where are you getting that?’ They say ‘offshore banks.' Where are they getting this shit? They’re making it up and I’m not going to talk about it. You can duplicate some of their research and find out it’s not true.”
After the interview with Stockman, Breitbart News tracked down the disclosure form on which the Houston Chronicle based its Nov. 25 story. Both the original copy Stockman filed with the U.S. House in April 2013, and the amended version Stockman filed in May 2013, show that the Houston Chronicle was accurately reporting the details of the document Stockman filed with the House. Both forms contain a line for a company that Stockman listed as “Presidential Trust Marketing,” and they list Stockman’s income from it in 2011 as $200,000 and in 2012 as $150,000 — a total of $350,000.
Nonetheless, Stockman insisted multiple times during his interview with Breitbart News that the Houston Chronicle somehow fabricated the number $350,000. “About that $350,000, too, you can pull the report,” Stockman said. “It’s like, 'where do they get this number?' It’s just like out of whole cloth.”
“You need to report yourself and not just rely on what they’re saying,” Stockman said in the interview. “You can pull my financial disclosure. And there’s no $350,000 on there. It’s made up. I’m not aware of it.”
After extensively searching for some kind of record of the existence of the "Presidential Trust Marketing" Stockman listed on his documents, the Houston Chronicle could not find any trace of such a company. However, it did find some similarly named companies.
“The Chronicle could not find any public records that document the existence of a company called ‘Presidential Trust Marketing,’” Olsen and Tucker wrote. “But Stockman did register the ‘Presidential Statutory Trust Foundation’ in Wyoming. It existed from 2007 to 2009, according to state records. And in 2004, he registered a sole proprietorship in Harris County called ‘Presidential Trust’ with a post office box in Webster, Texas, as the listed address. Harris County records list Presidential Trust as a for-profit business. On Stockman's LinkedIn page, he describes himself as ‘chair at Presidential Trust’ and identifies himself as working in ‘nonprofit organization management.’”
The Chronicle reporters wrote, too, that it is “unknown where or how Presidential Trust or Presidential Trust Marketing conducts business, or whether they are the same company.”
When Breitbart News asked Stockman what “Presidential Trust Marketing” was, and for any details about the entity, he refused to answer. “You’re not listening to me,” Stockman said when asked what “Presidential Trust Marketing” is. “I’m telling you that this is something I’m not going to keep going after. They [the Houston Chronicle] know what it is. And you can find out what it is. I’m not going to dignify their paper. I mean, they’re nuts. They are wholly crazy about this. And it’s why we’ve been at war with them for 20 years and they’re the only paper, I might add, that’s printing that stuff.”
This is far from the only scandal on Stockman's political horizon.
In a Nov. 20 story the Chronicle’s Olsen and Tucker reported how Stockman had just fired two congressional staffers “after disclosures that both made prohibited contributions to his campaign.”
“Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson told the Chronicle Thursday that staffers Jason Posey and Thomas Dodd had been terminated,” Olsen and Tucker wrote. “Posey had worked with Stockman since the mid-1990s and was his 2013 campaign treasurer. In April 2013, Posey filed a report that falsely attributed three donations totaling $7,500 to a relative, Donnie Posey, in Mississippi, and another three, also totaling $7,500, to Dodd's mother. Then last month, Posey filed an amended report disclosing that he and Dodd actually had made the contributions originally attributed to their respective relatives, FEC records show. Congressional staffers are prohibited by federal law and House ethics rules from contributing to their own employers' campaigns.”
In a Nov. 16 story for the Chronicle, Olsen and Tucker reported that Stockman “only laughed” when one of their reporters asked him “whether Posey had been discharged as campaign treasurer after being fired from Stockman's congressional staff,” or whether he was still acting as the campaign’s treasurer. The exchange happened outside a DC fundraiser for Stockman’s campaign with House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).
Stockman claimed the Chronicle fabricated other details about his financial disclosure forms and business history, and he told Breitbart News that the reporter from the Chronicle at that event had made up information again.
“He even claimed we didn’t have a treasurer and I was going to jail because we didn’t have a treasurer,” Stockman said of that exchange. “He just pulled that crap out of the air. I never said we didn’t have a treasurer. In fact, the treasurer is so ticked he may want to sue him.”
No Chronicle story in the series alleges that Stockman does not have a treasurer. One, the Nov. 16 story, does include a line about a Chronicle reporter asking Stockman if he fired Posey, his treasurer, from the campaign after firing him from his congressional office, or whether Posey has been allowed to continue as his campaign’s treasurer.
“As he exited that breakfast, Stockman only laughed when a Houston Chronicle reporter asked him whether Posey had been discharged as campaign treasurer after being fired from Stockman's congressional staff,” Olsen and Tucker wrote in the Nov. 16 story.
Stockman made the claim about the Chronicle reporter fabricating his claim that he did not have a treasurer several times during the interview with Breitbart News.
“They made up that we didn’t have a treasurer either,” he said at another point during the interview. “It’s just made up. In fact, like I said, one of the reporters was at one of our fundraisers and says ‘what are you going to do about not having a treasurer?’ And I’m like ‘where are you getting this stuff?’ And I just started laughing because it’s so ridiculous. It’s like the worst case of journalism, and like I said, the treasurer is really hopping mad and wants to sue the paper. Again.”
The focus of that Nov. 16 story was about how Webster, Texas, city-building officials and the fire marshal in the area ordered the emergency closing of Stockman’s campaign headquarters after finding fourteen fire code violations. Stockman’s campaign staff, the Chronicle reporters wrote, noted that the campaign used donors’ money to buy “bedding for overnight volunteers.” The campaign headquarters was in an old motorcycle shop that emergency officials deemed unsafe for human habitation. Yet campaign staffers seemed to be living in it.
Stockman replied “no, no” when asked if he or any of staffers have been contacted about any of the above matters by the House Ethics Committee or any other investigative authorities.
“They’re heavyweight accusations, not heavyweight evidence,” Stockman said. “If they [the Houston Chronicle] had what they said they had we’d be getting in a lot more trouble.”
Stockman’s campaign committee is about $130,000 in debt. According to his latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, he has about $32,000 cash on hand and owes about $163,000 in debts. In a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon, Stockman said the campaign debt is “in debt to me. That’s something the paper never reported.”
When asked whether he can raise the funds necessary to challenge Cornyn, Stockman refused to give any details. “I don’t have to convince you,” Stockman said. “That’s not my job. I’m not going to convince you of that. And I’m not going to convince anybody. My job is to convince the people to do it. Don’t worry. We are very innovative. We’ll make headway where a lot of people think we can’t.”
Texas is a huge state, and with the primary in March, he only has about 100 days to mount his campaign.