Texas Rep. Steve Stockman is not shy about sharing his opinions on political issues. When it comes to how he makes his money, however, Stockman is a little more reserved.
Stockman has gained some notoriety (including here at The Wire) for his aggressively conservative Twitter account, @SteveWorks4You. (From Tuesday: "Obama sides with Iran over the U.S. Congress.") But the Houston Chronicle noticed that who Stockman actually worked for prior to becoming a congressman isn't entirely clear.
Like any member of the House, Stockman is required to file disclosures revealing his financial interests and sources of income — both as a member and while running for his seat. He did so only belatedly.
Stockman already was serving as a U.S. representative when in April and May 2013 he submitted bare-bones reports for his candidacy, nearly a year after the deadline. Those listed all of his income in 2011 and 2012 as $350,000 in salary and fees from an unexplained entity called "Presidential Trust Marketing." He then filed two more disclosures as a congressman, in June and September.
But what exactly "Presidential Trust Marketing" might be isn't clear. The Chronicle notes that Stockman registered a "Presidential Statutory Trust Foundation" in Wyoming a few years ago, and had "a sole proprietorship in Harris County called 'Presidential Trust'" — but details on what, exactly, the firm or non-profit or whatever actually did are not clear. In response to inquiries, Stockman's office told the newspaper that "we're not going to accept any more of your questions."
There is one lead the Chronicle uncovered. Stockman won his current seat after having lost his 1996 reelection after being swept in during the 1994 Republican romp. In 2004 — two years after he and his wife filed for bankruptcy — his name and a quote from him appeared on a dot-org site called Conservatives in Action. The site solicited donations "in conjunction with the Presidential Trust Foundation, a non-profit political movement," promising donors that they'd receive a Ronald Reagan-themed bumper sticker. The Conservatives in Action site is now dead, but was captured by the Internet Archive.
Somehow, Steve Stockman earned $350,000 over two years from a company for which the Chronicle couldn't find any active business or non-profit registry. The paper interviewed Washington University law professor Kathleen Clark for her assessment.
"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," said Clark, who is based in Washington, D.C. "There are many things about the disclosure that I don't understand."
A question the Ethics Committee could start with: Steve Stockman works for who?