Steve Stockman, the TEA party representative from the new 36th district in Texas, apparently feels that he is above the law when it comes to financial disclosure. He never filed the required disclosure forms as a candidate, and when he finally did file a year late, his disclosure was incomplete.
The information that he has provided gives no answers and raises many questions. The only thing that one can be sure of is that he has created many businesses and that they all reside in a handful of PO boxes — many of the businesses sharing the same box. He has also provided no information explaining what any of these businesses do to make money nor how he derives any income from them.
The scanty information he has provided shows that he made $350,000 in salary in 2011 and 2012 from a shadowy entity known as Presidential Trust Marketing which operates out of a PO box in Webster, Texas, the box was also listed as the address of several other businesses which he ran but which have either expired or been dissolved. Those businesses are just as mysterious as Presidential Trust.
At the request of the Houston Chronicle’s Kathleen Clark, a professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis reviewed the documents and said that he has included information about his wife’s income while omitting his own income, business relationships and bank accounts, information that the law demands he reveal.
A puzzled Clark asked, “Did anyone review this? Has the House Ethics Committee followed up? It just seems very odd. I would have a lot of questions for him. There are many things about the disclosure that I don’t understand.”
Another Washington D.C. attorney, Brett Kappel, says that he should have been fined at the very least due to the late filing and the fact that he has provided no information at all about his current business affiliations.
Kappel said, “It sounds like he has no clearly identified source of income, if you’re an accountant, you should be aware of state and federal filing requirements (for nonprofits and for-profits) and if you are a former member of Congress you should be aware of disclosure requirements.”
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires that all members of congress must report all of their business associations — even those which produce no income. It’s clear that Stockman is thumbing his nose at the law.
After repeatedly requesting an interview, a staffer from the congressman’s office told the Chronicle, “We’re not going to accept any more of your questions.” That’s the way to look like you have nothing to hide congressman — stonewall.
The Chronicle was unable to find any public records to document the existence of a company known as “Presidential Trust Marketing,” although they did uncover evidence that Stockman had registered a business called “Presidential Statutory Trust Foundation” in Wyoming. That entity remained in existence from 2007 to 2009 and in 2004 he registered a sole proprietorship known as “Presidential Trust” using the Webster PO box as an address.
Harris County records list Presidential Trust as a for-profit business and on his LinkedIn page, Stockman describes himself as “chair at Presidential Trust” and says that he is working in “nonprofit organization management.”
No one has been able to determine if Presidential Trust Marketing and Presidential Trust are the same company, nor has it been determined where or how they conduct business. More mystery where the law requires transparency, and this from one of those questioning the transparency of the administration.
“Presidential Trust” is a name familiar to activists within the Republican party, it is what the Republican National Committee calls the fund which is earmarked to be spent “in direct coordination with the party’s presidential nominee.” In 2012 that fund spent $21 million in support of Mitt Romney.
Kirsten Kukowski, press secretary for the RNC, said that Stockman received no income from the committee in 2011 or 2012.
Kukowski went on to say, “We looked into this a bit, and this isn’t connected with the ‘Presidential Trust’ which is literally just the amount of money we can use to coordinate with the GOP presidential nominee. […] The FEC tells us how much money we can use to coordinate with the presidential campaign and we call that the ‘Presidential Trust’ so our donors know their money is going to the presidential campaign and nothing else.”
In 2004 and 2005, Stockman (or someone using his name and the name “Presidential Trust Foundation”) sought to elicit donations through a now defunct website called Conservativesinaction.org on a monthly basis as well as one time donations for conservative political projects.
The Chronicle was able to locate archived pages of the site which quoted “Congressman Steve Stockman” (although it was 8 years after his previous term in congress and 8 years prior to his current term) as saying, “Like our Founding Father’s [sic] vision and moral clarity join us in promoting freedom and love for our great nation. Your support will help preserve America’s great culture – it is a shared duty and honor to give sacrificially to defend our great nation.”
Potential donors were instructed to send donations to the Webster PO box Stockman has used for various purposes over the years and which he now says is the address of Presidential Trust Marketing.
Stockman serves on the Science, Space and Technology and Foreign Affairs committees. He describes himself as a free thinker and a pro-gun advocate. He might consider adding that he is a creative thinker who can come up with a con for any occasion and brazenly defy the rules to avoid being caught.
Where is this congress? They love to hold hearings on invented scandals but when one of their own creates the real thing they remain silent.
h/t: Huffington Post