Time for the week that was in Texas politics with Marissa Evans from the Texas Tribune.
Former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman has been on trial for fraud in Houston. This week a federal jury came down with a verdict, convicting him of 23 out of 24 items. He’s currently waiting in federal custody for his hearing on sentencing.
“I think people are still paying attention because of the serious allegations against him,” Evans says. “He was accused of laundering and fraudulent wire transfers of millions of dollars. People believe he’s deceived donors in terms of how he was supposed to use that money. Instead of voter education and his campaign he used it for a new dishwasher.”
Another disgraced Texas politician, Blake Farenthold, previously announced he would not be seeking reelection due to harassment and discrimination claims against him – but this week he announced he won’t even be finishing his term. This effectively ends a House committee investigation into the $84,000 of taxpayer money Farenthold used to settle his harassment suit.
“He has said over and over he’s going to pay it back to the American people, but then he resigned,” Evans says. “People think part of the reason he did it was because there was about to be a rather intense investigation into what happened to that money.”
Earlier this week, the findings of a new study disputed the number of maternal deaths reported in Texas in 2012.
“Instead of 147 women dying from childbirth, it was actually only 56,” Evans says. “This data has surprised a lot of people, it’s frustrated a lot of people. A lot of time, money and policy efforts went into trying to curb this problem in the last legislative session.”