A former Texas congressman is accused of funneling a whopping $350,000 intended for trauma victims, into his failed U.S. Senate bid instead, according to FBI agents.
Republican politician Steve Stockman redirected funds from a wealthy donor that were meant to go to renovation and operation of the Freedom House for the “Life Without Limits” nonprofit in Washington D.C., authorities said. The donor was not identified.
He blamed his arrest, which came as he traveled through the Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday, on the so-called “deep state” — a shadowy cohort of government and military officials in cahoots to undermine President Trump. He faces charges of conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements.
“This is part of the, I call it the ‘deep state,’ that’s continuing the progress,” Stockman told reporters on Friday while leaving Houston federal court.
He was taken into custody while trying to board a flight bound for the United Arab Emirates to help Sunni Muslims, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Federal investigators tracked Stockman’s hefty check to a deposit made at a bank branch in Webster, Tex., in January 2013. About a week later, the check was deposited into an account created by Stockman to do business as the Nevada-based nonprofit, authorities said.
The money never went toward Life Without Limits, which would have been used as a meeting place and training facility, according to the Chronicle. Additionally, the Freedom House never opened.
Stockman made headlines in 2013 for bringing musician Ted Nugent to Obama’s State of the Union address in February of that year.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The nonprofit, based out of a Las Vegas home, boasts four employees to help “people overcome physical, emotional and spiritual challenges due to trauma and/or personal loss,” its mission states. It recorded a $390,000 increase in contributions and grants in 2013, according to its form 990 on ProPublica’s “Nonprofit Explorer.”
FBI Agent Vanessa Walther alleged in an affidavit unsealed Friday that Stockman funneled the funds toward his political aspirations and pretended the assets came through donations, a violation of the Federal Elections Commission. It’s illegal to make campaign contributions made by one person in the name of another.
Stockman claims the allegations stem from a personal vendetta against him for criticizing the Internal Revenue Service, the Chronicle added.
The allegations point to Stockman’s second term in the U.S. House, from 2013 until 2015. He served his first term from 1995 until 1997.
He made headlines for calling former President Barack Obama’s impeachment and in 2013, he invited pro-Trump, pro-gun musician Ted Nugent to Obama’s State of the Union address as his plus one.
With News Wire Services