Testimony in a plea deal from a onetime aide to former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman puts the total of money he is accused of taking from charitable contributions close to $800,000.
Stockman was arrested last week as he was getting on a plane in Houston and charged with campaign funds violations. He was later released on $25,000 bond and forced to surrender his passport.
The charges filed on Friday involved funneling $350,000 into Stockman’s campaign from a Chicago foundation’s contributions intended to go to a meeting center in Washington for congressional interns Stockman was involved in. The center was never built, according to court filings.
Thomas Dodd, a former campaign worker and congressional special assistant, described in a plea deal on Monday that he and another staffer colluded with Stockman to use the $350,000 from the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation to pay credit card bills and on campaign expenses, the Houston Chronicle reported. But Dodd also said that the former Republican congressman had also done the same thing with $425,000 in contributions to the Baltimore-based.
Dodd pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to assist in building a case against Stockman.
In a series of meetings in 2010 and 2012, Stanford Z. Rothschild, who was in his mid-80s at the time, refused to contribute or loan money to Stockman’s campaigns, according to Dodd. But the plea deal said Stockman and Dodd persuaded him make donations that would be used for “legitimate charitable and educational purposes.”
“It is clear that these individuals were taking advantage of a very philanthropic elderly man,” said David Daneman, an attorney for the Rothschild Foundations.
Prosecutors are claiming this is part of a larger scam and the plea deal outlines a conspiracy that included two shell companies, bogus campaign contributions, wire and mail fraud, the Chronicle reported.
Stockman served two stints in the House before unsuccessfully challenging Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2014.