Former congressman indicted on conspiracy charges

Former congressman indicted on conspiracy charges
© Greg Nash
A federal grand jury indicted former Rep. Steve StockmanStephen (Steve) Ernest StockmanFormer Texas congressman found guilty of 23 felonies Trump's right — to prevent gun violence, don't disarm our military What Stoneman Douglas activists can learn from Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban MORE (R-Texas) and a former staffer for allegedly taking money intended for charity and using it for personal and campaign purposes, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday evening. 
 
The complaint alleges that the Texas lawmaker siphoned off money meant for charity to pay for personal expenses and illegally fund his campaigns for Congress. He and Jason Posey, who worked as a director of special projects in Stockman’s congressional office, allegedly conspired to cover up the crimes.
 
Some of the money, obtained under the guise of charitable donations, was allegedly used to conduct surveillance on “a perceived” political opponent, the Justice Department said.
 
The former lawmaker was arrested earlier this month. On Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed a 28-count indictment against him and his former aide. Another former staffer, Thomas Dodd, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the fraud last week. 
 
The charges include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and money laundering.
 
Stockman himself is also charged with filing a false tax return that the Justice Department says “concealed his receipt and personal use of the fraudulent proceeds.” Posey faces a charge of falsifying documents in order to obstruct an FEC investigation.
 
According to the indictment, Stockman solicited roughly $1.25 million in donations from May 2010 to October 2014 based on false pretenses.
 
A chunk of $285,00 in donations, meant for charitable causes, allegedly ended up bankrolling personal expenses for himself and Dodd. Another $165,000 donated to charity helped fund his 2012 congressional campaign.
 
Stockman, 60, served in Congress from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2013 to 2015.
 
Not long after taking office in his second tour of Capitol Hill in 2013, Stockman and Dodd allegedly solicited a $350,000 donation by using the name of a nonprofit entity, which the Justice Department does not specify.
 
Stockman allegedly used the cash for a variety of campaign purposes, including “a covert surveillance project targeting a perceived political opponent,” the indictment says.
 
When Stockman mounted a long-shot challenge against longtime Republican Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Senate GOP sounds alarm over Trump's floated auto tariffs Administration works to assuage critics over ZTE deal MORE (Texas), Posey allegedly used a nonprofit to obtain more than $450,000 — half of which ended up paying for a mass-mailing campaign against Cornyn. The Justice Department alleges that leftover money was used to pay for other Senate campaign expenses and personal expenses. 
 
Stockman left Capitol Hill in 2014 after waging his unsuccessful challenge for Cornyn’s Senate seat. Cornyn, who is now the Senate’s majority whip, won easily and carried 61 percent of the vote in that election.