A Houston grand jury charged former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman on Tuesday evening for his role in a scheme in which federal prosecutors say Stockman and two former staffers stole hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for charity to finance political campaigns and pay personal expenses.
Stockman was arrested on March 16 as he attempted to board a flight to the United Arab Emirates.
Among the charges in the updated 28-count indictment: Conspiracy, making face statements to the Federal Election Commission, money laundering, making excessive campaign contributions and both wire and mail fraud.
In addition to the 28 counts, Stockman was also charged with filing a false tax return; former congressional aide Jason Posey was hit with separate charges of falsifying a sworn statement and obstruction of justice.
Federal authorities contend between 2010 and 2014 Stockman and ex-House staffer Posey allegedly solicited $1.25 million in donations under the guise of charity and used $285,000 to pay personal expenses for himself and a second former staff member, Thomas Dodd.
Officials charge Stockman told donors contributions he sought were not for political use, but rather for upgrades to a Washington, D.C., townhouse to be used as a conference center for Capitol Hill interns.
The indictment also maintains Stockman used some of money raised to pay for surveillance on a possible political opponent.
Under terms of a plea deal negotiated with Dodd on March 20, Dodd pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction and revealed he, Stockman and Posey used $350,000 in donations from an Illinois-based charity for personal use.
Authorities also allege Stockman solicited donations from a second contributor, who was told funds would be used for a voter-education program. Donations for the townhouse and education program are deemed to be fraudulent.
Best known for being a part of the 1994 Republican “revolution” by unseating long-time Texas Congressman Jack Brooks, Stockman, 60, served two non-consecutive terms in the U.S. House. His first term occurred between 1995–’97, with a second term from 2013–’15 in a newly drawn district in east Texas.
Following his second term, he mounted an unsuccessful Senate primary bid against fellow Republican John Cornyn in 2014. In 2016, Stockman briefly considered running for the White House on the Constitution Party ticket.
Stockman has claimed innocence and blames the indictment on a “deep state conspiracy” due to his public criticism of the IRS.
[RollCall] [Houston Chronicle] [Photo courtesy AP via Politico]