Dwayne Stovall, a candidate for U.S. Senate, has filed two complaints with the Federal Election Commission against U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman alleging that his opponent has violated federal election laws and put Texans' personal information at risk.
The complaints, lodged Friday, provide a fresh batch of bad publicity for Stockman, who is the most high profile of seven Republicans challenging U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in Tuesday's primary.
Stockman’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Stovall's complaints accuse Stockman of improperly cooperating with two groups that have distributed material promoting his candidacy: the Asian Republicans of Harris County and a Texas nonprofit called the Center for the American Future.
The complaint regarding the Center for the American Future relates to a pro-Stockman mailer sent to some voters last month made to look like a newspaper titled “The Conservative News.” The mailer was from Center for the American Future but included images nearly identical to ones distributed by Stockman’s campaign. Stockman’s campaign told the Tribune last week that it had nothing to do with the mailer. The center has also denied that is coordinating with any campaigns, yet it was launched last year by Jason Posey, Stockman’s former campaign treasurer.
According to the complaint, Breitbart Texas reporter Lee Stranahan discovered data on the Center for American Future website that appeared to be credit card transaction files of people who had donated to Stockman’s Senate campaign. Stranahan gave a copy of some of the data to Brett Rogers, Stockman’s campaign manager, according to the complaint.
Stovall said Monday that the data provides proof that Stockman has put Texans’ personal information at risk.
The other complaint from Stovall requests that the FEC launch an investigation into whether there is any connection between Stockman and a recent pro-Stockman campaign mailer that purported to be from the Asian Republicans of Harris County. No group with that name is registered with the Texas Ethics Commission.
"We're saying that he's manipulating the election and he's manipulating the voters,” Stovall said. "That's not how Texans should campaign.”
Though Cornyn has several primary challengers, both his campaign and Texans for a Conservative Majority, a PAC that supports his re-election, have focused most of their recent efforts on undermining Stockman. On Monday, Cornyn's campaign promoted Stovall's FEC complaints in a robocall sent to Texas primary voters, though he avoided crediting Stovall by name.
“A Tea Party leader has filed an FEC complaint against Congressman Steve Stockman,” the robocall says. Cornyn spokesman Drew Brandewie confirmed that the “Tea Party leader” being referenced in the robocall is Stovall.
Stovall has drawn some support from Tea Party groups around Texas in recent weeks. Yet he has also struggled to elevate his profile on a limited campaign budget. Rogers, Stovall’s campaign manager, said he wasn’t surprised that Cornyn’s campaign was not identifying Stovall as a primary opponent in its robocall. He also did not mind the way the campaign was choosing to describes Stovall.
“He’s not wrong about that,” Rogers said. “Truth is truth. Dwayne is a Tea Party leader.”