Steve Stockman, a former Republican congressman from Texas, has been convicted on multiple counts of fraud, and faces a possible decades-long prison sentence.
But how could a congressman fall so far so quickly? This is the story of Steve Stockman, and how the charges against him came about.
Who Is Steve Stockman?
Stephen Ernest Stockman was born on November 14, 1956, in an area outside of Detroit called Bloomfield, Michigan. His early adult years were marked by a carelessness and lack of drive.
In 1977, Stockman was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. The charges were later dropped. He went to San Jacinto College in 1985 but ended up dropping out due to partying. It wasn’t until the 1990s that he started to make his way into the straight-laced world of politics.
A Conservative from the Start
From the start of his career in politics, Stockman was, in many ways, the stereotype of a Republican; a buttoned-down, conservative, white male. He first ran for Congress in March 1990 in Texas’s 9th congressional district. While it was a losing effort, it was not his last.
After another unsuccessful run in 1992, Stockman finally made it to Congress in 1995. He held the office in January 1997, but not without controversy.
While in office, Stockman claimed that the Clinton administration helped organize the siege on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, as a way to prove the need for a ban on assault rifles. These opinions were presented in an article that Stockman wrote for Guns & Ammo magazine. Among other accusations, he mentioned:
“Waco was supposed to be a way for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the Clinton Administration to prove the need for a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.”
Stockman also showed his conservative leanings when he discovered that Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 study, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male used information from the diary of a pedophile. According to Stockman, this meant that the entire nature of sexual education in the United States was broken.
Stockman was defeated in the next election and left politics for a lengthy period.
Not Done with Politics
He returned to the House of Representatives in 2013, and his conservative views did not change a bit. Among the notable moments of this particular run was in his standing against the Affordable Care Act, introducing a bill that would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, as well as voting against a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, that would have included expanded protections for transgender victims of domestic violence.
After leaving the House, Stockman made a failed run for Senate. He even reportedly considered running for president in 2016 for the Constitution party. Ultimately, he didn’t run. In a moment that maybe foreshadowed his future, Stockman was investigated by an ethics inquiry due to a campaign finance reporting error. The matter was ultimately dismissed.
The Charges against Stockman
On March 17, 2017, Stockman was arrested and charged with 24 felonies, including money laundering, mail and wire fraud, and violations of federal election law. Two of Stockman’s former aides, Thomas Dodd and Jason Posey, were also charged. Around the same time charges were laid, Stockman’s Twitter page pinned the following tweet as a possible attempt at gaining support.
— Steve Stockman (@SteveWorks4You) March 24, 2017
Stockman also went on to claim that a government conspiracy was drumming up the accusations against him. He contended that it has a lot to do with how he spoke out against the Internal Revenue Service, and these charges were meant as payback.
Essentially, the charges against Stockman revolved around his using charitable donations and using them to fund his political campaigns, as well as some personal expenses. Starting in May 2010 and lasting until October 2014, Stockman fraudulently solicited approximately $1.25 million in charitable contributions that were funnelled into his political campaigns. In 2010, at least $285,000 of money earmarked for charity was diverted to paying personal expenses for Dodd and Stockman. Stockman also used part of that money for political campaigning.
In 2011 and 2012, Stockman and Dodd again used this scheme, this time to the tune of $165,000 that, instead of going into a charity, went into Stockman’s congressional campaign. In 2013, Stockman and Dodd used the name of a nonprofit entity, Life without Limits, to snag a $350,000 charitable donation. This money was used for personal expenses, campaign expenses, and a covert surveillance project targeting a perceived political opponent. It was also used as money for Stockman’s Senate race.
Another charitable donation of $450,571 was secured. The money was to pay for attack ad mailers against Stockman’s opponent. Instead, only half was used for the mailers, while the rest went to paying off debt from the Senate run, as well as more of Stockman’s personal expenses.
Both Dodd and Posey pleaded guilty, and then testified against Stockman. This week, the trial finally ended with Stockman being convicted of 23 out of 24 charges. His convictions includes 11 counts of money laundering seven counts of mail and wire fraud, one count of making coordinated excessive campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy to make conduit campaign contributions and false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of making false statements to the FEC, and one count of filing a false tax return.
Sentencing has yet to be finalized as of this writing, and it is expected that Stockman will appeal the convictions.