By a unanimous vote, the Office of Congressional Ethics has found “substantial reason” to believe that Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) broke ethics rules and campaign finance laws. Their report calls for Stockman and eight of his campaign staff to be subpoenaed to testify before the House Ethics Committee even though he lost his Senate bid against John Cornyn. The Sunlight Foundation, whose reporting spurred the OCE’s investigation, reports that Stockman is in trouble because his story made no sense to them:
According to the preparers, Stockman offered varying explanations for the apparently illegal contributions from two employees of his congressional office, Thomas Dodd and Jason Posey. Although the contributions were initially made in the names of family members of the staffers, they were reattributed after Sunlight reported that one of the supposed donors had no knowledge of the contribution. When Sunlight pointed out that campaign contributions by congressional staffers are illegal, Dodd and Posey were fired. The OCE reported quoted Stockman as explaining he thought his staffers were “culpably gullible.”
Though Stockman declined to sit for an interview with the committee he offered varying accounts for the contributions in an e-mail and letter responses, including arguing that his staffers’ contributions were legal because they were made during a less-than 24-hour period when, according to the congressman, they were temporarily off his official payroll.
Stockman’s campaign style has been an insult to democracy. Confronted with his criminal record, Stockman tried to make it go away with hilarious lawsuit threats against anyone who published his mugshot. Stockman’s disgusting campaign office was the perfect metaphor for his career as the sloppiest, laziest member of Congress, and now it seems he won’t even be leaving Congress cleanly, either.