Dan Backer

Public Integrity reports that Steve Stockman registered a new campaign committee on December 30, naming Dan Backer as its treasurer. This is the closest link yet between Stockman and the regular cast of characters we cover at this website. In recent weeks, we have noted striking similarities between Ali Akbar and Congressman Stockman, who both run sketchy nonprofit organizations and apparently learned that trade at the Leadership Institute. Stockman (R – TX) is the archetypal know-nothing Republican, a Tea Party extremist whose hatred of government compensates for his own sloppy financial practices. As Public Integrity reports,

Stockman’s other campaign committee, the still-operational Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman, is mired in $163,000 worth of debt, federal records show.

Furthermore, the old committee has amended its federal campaign finance disclosures 35 times since 2012 to correct various errors or irregularities, federal records show, including amendments attempting to explain whether it received money from a pair of Stockman’s congressional staffers. Such donations aren’t legal.

Then, on Dec. 20, Federal Election Commission Campaign Finance Analyst Ryan Furman informed the committee it had accepted “contributions that appear to exceed the limits” of federal law.

Dan Backer is the conservative lawyer who created so-called “super PACs” through his challenge to the Federal Election Commission. Last October, Backer argued another case against the FEC before the Supreme Court that would raise or eliminate restrictions on the amounts that individuals can donate to federal candidates and campaign committees, presumably making it much easier for Stockman’s messy accounting to continue.

Backer, who also serves as treasurer of Ron Paul’s Revolution PAC, has a libertarian’s distrust of the Federal Reserve and paper money. Late last year, he asked the FEC to allow candidates to receive donations in Bitcoins, but the panel deadlocked on the question. Like Backer, Stockman is not a fan of the Federal Reserve. He has already begun accepting donations in Bitcoins without waiting for a positive decision from the FEC.

“Digital currency’s more about freedom,” Stockman said in an online video lending support to the bitcoin movement. “Because all the time people are trying to get in your pocket, trying to do different things to control you. Freedom to choose what you do with your money, and freedom to keep your money without people influencing it by printing money or through regulation.”

As they fluctuate in value, Bitcoins would certainly make it easier for Stockman to continue his murky campaign finance practices forever.

Stockman’s insurgent campaign against establishment Republican Senator John Cornyn is not going very well. He trails badly in polls, his campaign finance irregularities have been embarrassing, and his campaign headquarters was recently condemned. Nevertheless, we do not underestimate Stockman, whose long history of gun rights propaganda and friendly attitude toward right wing militias has endeared him to the rabid Tea Party types who dominate GOP primary elections. In running against Cornyn, Stockman is channeling a dispute within the conservative movement that pitches grassroots activists against party leadership. The activist base would redouble efforts to shut down government and slash budgets, moves that have damaged the party’s ability to win general elections.

Backer, who was Aaron Walker’s attorney in the failed “Bloggers Defense Team” effort to sue Brett Kimberlin, runs the Conservative Action Fund, which gave Ali Akbar’s Vice & Victory Fund over $44,000 in 2012. Like Stockman, Backer was also one of the louder voices during last year’s contrived IRS scandal, which Akbar’s Groundswell listserv lobbied to push on House Republican leadership. These efforts are clearly supposed to forestall any reckoning for fake nonprofits and sketchy campaign finance practices.

We will continue to monitor this story.