UPDATE Oct. 17: Steve Stockman's campaign report has been amended to show contributions came from staffers, not from their relatives, the Sunlight Foundation reports. But the senior legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center told the website that some contributions still appear to be made in violation of the ban on straw donors.
While conservative Houston-area congressman Steve Stockman calls on the federal government to balance its budget, his campaign owes tens of thousands of dollars to staffers and is engaged in questionable campaign contributions, according to the watchdog website, the Sunlight Foundation.
Campaign finance records examined by reporters for the website indicate that a parent of a congressional staffer contributed $7,500 in $2,500 increments to Stockman's campaign. But Jane Dodd, the mother of Thomas R. Dodd, a special assistant in Stockman's congressional office, had no recollection of the contribution. "That wasn't me," she said.
The Stockman campaign is $157,010 in debt, according to the most recent report, with more than $75,000 owed to staffers and friends.
The website reports that contributions made by one individual but attributed to another are prohibited under federal law. It notes that such laws are bipartisan, as a big donor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is serving time in prison for violating the law.
Records show that another contributor to Stockman's campaign, Donnie Posey of Fulton, Miss., may be a relative of a staffer in the Texan's congressional office: Jason T. Posey, Stockman's director of special projects. Donnie Posey donated $7,500 to Stockman's campaign.
Under federal law, individuals can contribute a maximum of $2,600 per election. The website notes that Posey's donations were recorded in three distinct sums: $2,500 each for Stockman's primary, general and run-off elections. A memo item notes that they are intended for debt repayment.
Posey's and Dodd's contributions were made on the same February day, and both are split up in an identical manner: $2,500 per election.
Sunlight's Real-time FEC tool shows that the Stockman campaign is $157,010 in debt, according to the most recent report filed for the period of April through June of this year, with more than $75,000 owed to staffers and friends.
Stockman listed a $200,000 in salary from Presidential Trust Marketing, while his wife earned $115,000 from her job at NASA, on his personal financial disclosure form.
Email and phone requests to Stockman's Washington, D.C. office seeking a response to the allegations were not immediately returned.
Stockman represents the Texas 36th Congressional District, a newly created, heavily Republican district that includes all of Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin, Liberty and Chambers counties, plus portions of southeastern Harris County, including Baytown and Pasadena.
Stockman previously served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 9th Congressional District from 1995 to 1997.