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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Former congressman found guilty of 23 felonies

Former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman's sentencing is currently scheduled for August, and he could face decades in prison for his crimes.

Image Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images

After soliciting approximately $1,250,000 in donations based on false pretenses, former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman was convicted Thursday of 23 felonies, including fraud, money laundering, and violations of federal election law. In exchange for guilty pleas, two former aides testified against Stockman during the trial.

Shortly after taking office in 2013, the corrupt congressman and Thomas Dodd, a former special assistant in Stockman’s congressional office, used the name of a nonprofit entity to solicit and receive a $350,000 charitable donation. In addition to illicitly using the donation for a variety of personal and campaign expenses, Stockman also used the money to deploy a covert surveillance project targeting a perceived political opponent.

In connection with Stockman’s 2014 Senate campaign, Jason Posey, the former director of special projects in Stockman’s congressional office, used a nonprofit entity to secure a $450,571 donation in order to fund a mass-mailing project attacking Stockman’s opponent. Only approximately half of the donation was spent on the mail campaign, and Posey used a portion of the unspent balance to pay for expenses associated with Stockman’s Senate campaign and to fund personal expenses.

According to court records, Stockman solicited approximately $1,250,000 in charitable donations based on false pretenses between May 2010 and October 2014. He served two nonconsecutive terms in the U.S. House before losing a 2014 challenge to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

On March 28, 2017, Stockman and Posey were charged in a 28-count superseding indictment, including charges of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), making excessive campaign contributions, and money laundering. Eight days earlier, Dodd had pleaded guilty to his involvement in their scheme.

On Thursday, Stockman was found guilty of 23 out of 24 felony charges related to the defrauding of two conservative mega-donors out of $1.25 million in donations. The jury reportedly rejected only one out four charges of wire fraud.

According to the former congressman’s attorneys, Stockman plans to appeal the court’s decision. His sentencing is currently scheduled for August, and he could face decades in prison for his crimes.

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