Stockman To Plead Not Guilty To Corruption Charges

The former Houston-area Republican congressman faces two dozen criminal counts, stemming from the alleged misuse of charitable contributions for campaign and personal expenses.

By Andrew SchneiderApril 4, 2017 9:52 am, , , ,

From Houston Public Media

Former Congressman Steve Stockman is due in a Houston federal court Wednesday afternoon for his arraignment. Stockman is facing 24 criminal counts, ranging from fraud to money laundering to tax evasion. He’s expected to plead not guilty to all charges.

“He’s accused of raising money on behalf of charities and then diverting the money to his own personal and his own campaign expenses,” says Kenneth Williams, a professor of criminal law at South Texas College of Law Houston. “He’s also been accused of covering up his misdeeds, what he had been doing. That’s the essence of the charges.”

According to the indictment, Stockman and two of his aides used the money to help fund Stockman’s 2012 congressional campaign and his 2014 primary challenge to Senator John Cornyn. Stockman also allegedly diverted funds to support his brother’s book business, to pay for alcohol rehab for a female associate, and to send a nephew and the daughter of a family friend to summer camp.

“It’s sadly common,” says Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, “You have several members of Congress who have been indicted — since the 1980s, there’s been more than two dozen — and he certainly fits into that mold. He’s out of office now, but a lot of these things happened while he was in office.”

Rottinghaus says Stockman has been known for making strong statements, both in and out of office. In 1995, during his first term, he accused then-President Clinton of orchestrating murder, during the siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, in order to justify a ban on assault weapons. Stockman now blames his own arrest on a “deep state” conspiracy, borrowing language from President Trump to describe political enemies in the federal bureaucracy.

“It’s not our job to prove or disprove conspiracy theories,” says Dane Ball, Stockman’s lead defense counsel.

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