At one point, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) thought he could serve at least one six-year term in the US Senate when he challenged incumbent John Cornyn in Texas’ 2014 Republican primary. Now Stockman’s looking at a five-year term in Club Fed, thanks to an FBI and FEC probe of his campaign finances. Stockman appeared in federal court yesterday, accused of funneling money from a non-profit to his own personal and political use, and the judge offered Stockman some advice after setting bail (via The Blaze):
He is accused of conspiring to violate federal election laws during his last term in office. It’s a felony that could send him to federal prison if he’s convicted. …
According to the complaint, in 2011 Stockman set up a non-profit called Life Without Limits in Las Vegas. A single contributor donated $350,000 to the charity, which Stockman then allegedly funneled back to himself through donations made by his employees.
Stockman said he understood the charge. Judge Stephen Smith set bail at $25,000.
The advice? Get a lawyer. Stockman apparently had not arranged representation, and the judge told him to find an attorney by today at 2 pm. “These are serious charges,” the judge noted, although the shackles and handcuffs on Stockman probably had already made that plain. He won’t have the non-profit money to use for it, though. According to the video report, Stockman only managed to draw $15,000 out of the fund before the FEC and FBI started getting suspicious.
Stockman’s challenge of Cornyn alone might have been enough to draw their interest. As Allahpundit noted at the time, it was a laughably unserious effort, a last-minute decision by a candidate who was already seriously underwater from his House run. It also exposed a serious lack of disclosure on Stockman’s part about his income, as the Houston Chronicle noted at the time:
Both as a candidate and as a congressman, Rep. Steve Stockman of Clear Lake has failed to make federally required disclosures about business affiliations that stretch from Texas to the British Virgin Islands, and has provided no details about the business he claims as his sole source of income. …
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.
The FEC and the House would have eventually started looking into the discrepancies and the failures to properly disclose income sources. Moving up to the Senate race against a well-funded incumbent would have accelerated this process. If the allegations in the indictment are true, iStockman must have a serious self-destructive streak. Stockman didn’t run much of a campaign either, and only gathered 19% of the vote in an eight-person race that Cornyn won with nearly 60%.
A life without limits comes at you fast.