Outgoing Republican Congressman Steve Stockman and three of his aides have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury as part of a criminal investigation. It appears that the investigation into Stockman relates to campaign contributions that came from staff members, which is a clear Federal Election Commission violation. The House Ethics Commission has looked into Stockman’s activities already and released a report in June recommending that Stockman and a number of staffers be subpoenaed by a grand jury for not cooperating with the House investigation.
As of now, it is not entirely clear if Stockman will cooperate with the federal grand jury. When the House reconvened after a lengthy recess for the lame-duck session, Stockman sent a notice to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) stating that he is seeking advice from counsel on whether or not he needs to comply with the subpoena due to his Congressional privilege. However, per National Journal, the three other aides who have been subpoenaed have already consulted with the House General Counsel and have been told that Congressional privilege does not prevent them from complying.
While the full scope of the grand jury investigation hasn’t been made clear, it very likely relates to the ethics report on Stockman and his office in relation to inappropriate campaign donations. In 2013, Stockman reported that $15,000 in contributions came from family members of two of his staffers. In reality, the money came directly from the Congressional employees. Also, the report shows that he was paying them for full-time work when they were only part-time employees.
This indicates one of two things, neither good for Stockman. He was either doing a quid pro quo and rewarding them for their donations by paying them for work they weren’t doing. The other option is that he was actually using money designated for his Congressional staff and funneling it into his campaign coffers. He would have done this by paying the two aides extra and then directed them to contribute the additional money to his campaign funds.
Stockman is in his last weeks as a United States Representative. He did not seek reelection for his seat as he had the harebrained notion to take on incumbent Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in the GOP Senate primary this year. Of course, Stockman was trounced as he seemingly didn’t take his primary campaign seriously and even disappeared for a few days. In his single term in the House (he also served a term in the ’90s), the Texas Tea Partier has already made a name for himself as one of the nuttiest in a chamber stock full of wingnuts. One of his first actions this term was to invite right-wing pedophile Ted Nugent to the State of the Union.
Stockman appears to be the latest in a long line of Tea Party grifters who look at elected positions as nothing more than a way to make a name for themselves in the lucrative world of conservative entertainment. Sarah Palin, Allen West, Joe Walsh and others all served two years or less in office but now can refer to themselves as a former elected official when spewing out whatever opinions they have on talk radio, the internet or Fox News. West and Palin have set up PACs ostensibly to ‘help’ other Republican candidates and causes. However, especially in Palin’s case, it seems that the PACs are nothing more than personal slush funds.
Congressman Stockman never took governing seriously. Of course, that is what actually got him elected in the first place. In the end, it was nothing more than a narcissistic endeavor to gain some fame. Unfortunately for him, this little endeavor may lead to a federal conviction and jail time.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).