HOUSTON, Texas — Federal authorities arrested former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman on charges of using contributions intended for a non-profit in his political campaign. He is also accused of making false statements in an effort to cover up his actions.
The two-time representative left public service after losing a GOP primary bid to unseat Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in 2014.
FBI Agent Vanessa Walther filed a criminal complaint stating, “It is a crime to make a campaign contribution by one person in the name of another, and to make a false statement to the Federal Elections Commission,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
She accuses Stockman with soliciting $350,000 in charitable contributions from a “wealthy businessman.” The donations were allegedly made to support Life Without Limits, a Las Vegas-based non-profit organization. The purpose of the charity is to assist people who have experienced traumatic events in their lives. The donor allegedly believed they were donating to help renovate Freedom House in Washington, D.C., the complaint states.
Stockman is accused of depositing the check into an account he set up with a D.B.A. of Life Without Limits. Officials reported the account had a balance of $33.48 prior to the $350,000 deposit. Stockman reportedly opened the account a few days before making the large deposit.
Stockman then allegedly diverted the contribution from its intended purpose and used it to pay personal expenses and create political contributions to his own campaign, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Stockman is accused of making contributions to his own campaign in the name of other donors, a violation of federal law.
Stockman served in the U.S. House of Representatives on two separate occasions. Voters in Texas’ 9th Congressional District elected him in 1995. Two years later, Nick Lampson unseated him.
When Texas gained four seats after the 2010 Census, voters in the newly drawn 36th Congressional District sent him back to Washington. He served for two years before deciding not to see re-election to the House. Instead, Stockman chose to run against Senator Cornyn in the 2014 Senate race.
Later, he reportedly falsely claimed the Tea Party Patriots endorsed his campaign against Senator Cornyn. The group denied the endorsement. Other Tea Party groups quickly distanced themselves from the Stockman campaign, Breitbart Texas wrote at the time.