Free Steve Stockman
My husband, former Congressman Steve Stockman who twice served southeast Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives, was a bold, outspoken opponent of the Clinton and Obama administrations during his two terms in office. Now he sits in jail after being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. It was heartbreaking to watch as my husband shed his suit jacket, tie and belt, was shackled hand-and-foot, and led out of the U.S. District Court in Houston on April 12 last year.
Offical Portrait of Representative Steve Stockman, 2013
In that court, he had undergone a nearly three-week trial and awaited completion of four days of jury deliberation before it returned guilty verdicts for 23 of 24 charges the Department of Justice had brought against him a year earlier.
Steve Stockman has spent most of his adult life working in one way or another to aggressively fight the political left’s agenda to transform America into a socialist country. Yet I watched as he was led away to prison as a common criminal when we both knew he was innocent of all the trumped up, vague, and highly confusing charges.
There has been an outcry during the past few years from many conservatives well aware of the corruption of our Justice Department and nonprofit division of the Internal Revenue Service. In Steve’s case, that combination performed a reprisal of their crooked partnership in order to convict him. That’s the same IRS department once headed by Lois Lerner who was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to produce evidence or testify before a House committee.
My husband Steve, tired of Congress looking inept and following an old congressional precedent, filed a resolution to arrest Lerner for her contempt. Soon thereafter the FBI was at our door, and this horrible ordeal of criminal charges began.
Many friends and most of my husband’s former colleagues undoubtedly assumed that, with so much smoke, there had to be guilt. Even typically conservative news outlets took up the story as told by DOJ in their tainted and slanted press releases.
However, new filings with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals provide indisputable legal rationales why my husband Steve is innocent of the charges.
On May 24, his attorney David Warrington of the law firm Kutak Rock filed Steve’s appeal with the court. Attorney Mark Fitzgibbons followed on May 31 by filing a meaty Amicus Curiae brief in support of my husband’s case.
The entire case had turned on four donation checks to nonprofit organizations with which my husband was associated, and how those funds were spent. Prosecutors wove and twisted together for the jury a lot of disparate “facts” into an amazingly complicated, false, and confusing tapestry of alleged deceit and self-serving motivations for personal and political campaign gain.
My husband himself observed several times during the jury’s deliberations that, had he listened uninformed, to all the jury had heard for three weeks, he might find himself guilty. Unfortunately, we were unable to afford counsel knowledgeable of the complex laws about tax-exempt organizations applicable to the charges against Steve.
But our new counsel Warrington is well-versed in the laws under which my husband was charged. And Fitzgibbons is with American Target Advertising, Inc., an agency that provides services for nonprofit organizations nationwide.
Twenty-seven co-signers on the amicus are either formally associated in some way with nonprofits or are former elected officials concerned about nonprofit organization rights and the First Amendment rights of political committees to communicate, fundraise, and build and manage relationships with donors and non-donor supporters.
Both Steve’s appeal and the amicus thoroughly and clearly detail the rights and limitations for nonprofit organizations under the Internal Revenue Code and campaign finance laws. The filings specify, charge by charge, how Steve’s actions painted as crimes by the government were quite legal, and even prudent, under the law.
The largest part of the appeal’s argument spells out how the instructions to the jury omitted absolutely critical specifics of the laws governing Steve’s actions. It explains that, without proper understanding of either tax law governing nonprofit organizations or law governing campaign finance activities, it was impossible for the jury to reach an accurate decision as to whether he broke laws.
Fitzgibbons told his amicus co-signers that, “the government confused the jury about complex law governing campaign finance and tax-exempt entities in the political and charitable arenas, and that the judge issued incorrect Jury Instructions in areas clearly protected by the First Amendment.” Thus, Steve’s rights to a fair trial were blatantly infringed.
Both the appeal and amicus brief make it abundantly clear that the charges against Stockman were absolutely wrong under the relevant laws. Together, they cite over two dozen precedent cases settled by appeals and the Supreme Court that would support a reversal of Stockman’s conviction.
The filings explain how Stockman and his associates actually went beyond requirements to ensure they followed the law, especially with respect to campaign finances and nonprofit expenditures related to elections.
The government’s response to Stockman’s appeal is due to be filed in the circuit court of appeals this summer. It is hard to imagine how they can twist the law or facts to refute the clearly presented arguments for conviction reversal.
However, the wheels of federal justice turn ever so slowly. While Steve Stockman has spent most of his adult life fighting to preserve the liberties of U.S. citizens, he may spend nearly another year deprived of his own as he awaits an appeals court decision.
Patti Stockman has been married to Steve for 30 years, is a conservative activist in her own right, and partnered alongside him in all his political endeavors. She has her own professional career, having worked for NASA 35 years. Visit www.DefendAPatriot.com to read more, lend your name to the petition for a pardon, read both briefs, or donate, if you wish.