Politics

Corruption Trial Begins for Former Rep. Steve Stockman

Prosecutors call the allegations against former Republican congressman a ‘white-collar crime spree’

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, and two aides are accused of using $1.25 meant for charitable groups for campaign and personal expenses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The corruption trial for former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, accused of using charitable donations for campaign and personal use, is set to begin on Monday.

Prosecutors in the case have called the allegations against the former Republican congressman a “white-collar crime spree,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

The joint team of prosecutors say that Stockman and two aides used $1.25 million meant for charitable groups and used it for campaign and personal expenses without paying taxes.

“The evidence at trial will show that over a four-year period (Stockman) used a series of sham nonprofit entities to raise over $1 million in fraudulent donations, funneled the fraud proceeds through a web of shell bank accounts before ultimately using the funds to pay for personal expenses and to illegally finance his campaign for federal office,” prosecutor Ryan Ellersick wrote in a trial brief.

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Stockman’s lawyer Sean Buckley denied any wrongdoing and said the former congressman did not defraud donors.

“There’s no allegation of an extravagant lifestyle. He was always one step away from the poverty line,” Buckley said.

The trial comes after one of Stockman’s former aides, Thomas Dodd, pled guilty and said he and another aide colluded with Stockman to funnel $775,000 in charitable contributions to pay for either campaign expenses or credit card bills.

Similarly, Jason Posey plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in October.

The prosecution accused Stockman of soliciting more than $1.25 million in donations based on false pretenses.

One of the more egregious examples was that Stockman pitching the creation of Freedom House to give congressional interns a place to live in Washington, D.C. A day after the check was written, Stockman used it to pay campaign debt and $32,000 in credit card debt, according to prosecutors.

Stockman served two terms in the House before unsuccessfully challenging Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2014.

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