Ex-lawmaker gets 10 years for using charity cash for dolphin-watching, hot-air balloon rides

A former congressman from Texas was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in federal jail for pocketing a minimum of $775,000 in donations meant for charity and spying on a possible GOP rival, authorities stated.

Steve Stockman, 61, a former Tea Get together stalwart, was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution at his sentencing, the place he wore an orange jumpsuit and beige rubber clogs chained collectively at his ankles, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“You stole cash and used it for private achieve and also you used it to violate the general public belief,” Chief U.S. District Decide Lee H. Rosenthal instructed Stockman, based on the paper. “You cheated the American taxpayer.”

“You stole cash and used it for private achieve and also you used it to violate the general public belief. You cheated the American taxpayer.”

— Chief U.S. District Decide Lee H. Rosenthal

Stockman was convicted in April on 23 of 24 counts, together with mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and cash laundering.

Prosecutors stated Stockman misused donations from conservative foundations for private and political use that included his brother’s do-it-yourself Creation books and a dolphin-watching journey, the Chronicle reported. The Texas Tribune reported he purchased a brand new dishwasher and hot-air balloon rides.

A conservative operative stated through the trial that Stockman employed folks to spy on three Republican state lawmakers, together with Texas Rep. James White of Woodville, a perceived rival.

Nevertheless, Stockman’s spouse Patti instructed the Chronicle that she believes the felony case was political, saying her husband was “a very vocal whistleblower in regards to the corruption of the Obama administration.”

Stockman served within the U.S. Home for two non-consecutive phrases, from 1995 till 1997, and from 2013 till 2015. He misplaced in his 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate to incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, who went on to win re-election.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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