Investigators Say Stockman Used Donations for Tanning Salons, Dolphin Cruise

Ex-Texas GOP lawmaker on trial for corruption charges after aides plead guilty

A former aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said when he introduced himself to other members of Stockman's staff he said, "I just do what I'm told." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
A former aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said when he introduced himself to other members of Stockman's staff he said, "I just do what I'm told." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 29, 2018 at 8:56am

An FBI forensic accountant testified in the corruption trial of former Rep. Steve Stockman that the Texas Republican used charitable contributions to pay for extravagant personal expenses.

Among the spending, Stockman is accused of using $450,000 in charitable contributions to pay for dolphin boat rides, tanning salons, a kennel bill, a dishwasher and airline tickets to South Sudan, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The money came from Baltimore money manager Stanford Z. Rothschild Jr., who gave the $450,000 to various charities run by Stockman, according to testimony.

Rothschild died in 2017, but his secretary Jean Dellman testified Wednesday that her boss intended to spend the money on policies he supported but not explicit political purposes.

The accusation is part of a larger accusation that Stockman siphoned off $1.25 million in donations to pay for personal and campaign costs.

Dellman also said Stockman’s former aide Thomas Dodd, who requested the donation and who has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy, was one of the most aggressive fundraisers the foundation had ever encountered.

Dodd agreed to assist prosecutors in their case against Stockman and previously said Rothschild was initially reluctant to give the money. But Dodd and Stockman told him the money would be used for “legitimate charitable and educational purposes.”

Stockman’s lawyers have said that though he was careless, the former congressman did not break the law. They have asked why the FBI and IRS did not investigate the donors’ intent.

Last week, jurors heard testimony from the son of a Midwest megadonor that his $350,000 check intended for a home for young conservative interns in Washington went to pay for expenses such as credit card debt and campaign costs as well as for a Stockman friend’s stint in rehab and the funeral of an employee’s wife.

Stockman represented his Houston-area district from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2013 to 2015. He lost a bid in 2014 to unseat Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

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