- - Sunday, August 4, 2019

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, did more as an elected official than perhaps any other to alert the nation to the fact that Lois Lerner, the now-disgraced IRS official, was using her powerful position to target conservatives.

He boldly led the charge that eventually resulted in Ms. Lerner admitting her abuse of power, being held in contempt of Congress and being ousted her from her post.

But while Ms. Lerner now lives as a free woman, even though she and her crooked government buddies enacted revenge on Stockman, who now is languishing in a federal prison under a 10-year sentence.

The 2018 criminal trial of Stockman has laid bare the underbelly of political targeting by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. As a congressman, Stockman had exposed many instances of high-level corruption by Obama officials. His ability to chase down and hold accountable Obama officials is legendary. Stockman called for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric H. Holder for obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress.

The gutsy former Texas congressman undid much of President Barack Obama’s agenda when he blocked, via a “blue slip,” the president’s signature legislative priorities — the immigration and gun control bills — effectively keeping the Senate from sending the bills to the House for a vote.

Stockman also introduced a bill calling for U.S. Capitol Police to arrest Ms. Lerner for destroying government emails and for obstruction of justice.

DOJ official Raymond Hulser, who signed the indictment of Stockman in the spring of 2017, was copied by Ms. Lerner on emails to DOJ giving evidence of her scheme to prosecute conservatives.

The case against Steve Stockman? It involves the supposed tricking of nonprofit donors, based on four checks and two donors. It took twice as long as the Trump investigation, four grand juries, the pressuring of witnesses and millions of dollars to convict the former legislator.

Poignantly, neither of the donors complained or contacted the government; rather, the DOJ sought them out. The government’s own key FBI witness, Ben Wetmore, called it a “show trial — a real-life, Soviet-style prosecution.”

An FBI witness testified at Stockman’s trial that an agent was brought onto the FBI team to investigate the congressman the same month Stockman appeared on Fox News calling for Ms. Lerner’s arrest.

The government organizations and people on whom Stockman blew the whistle are the very ones who tried and secured his conviction — the FBI, DOJ and IRS.

So disturbing was the prosecution of the congressman that dozens of high-profile conservatives are ringing the bell in a “friend of the court,” or amicus, brief filed last week in Stockman’s case. (I am proud to have signed onto the brief.) The previous amicus brief filed in early June and the new one pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where Stockman’s case now resides, lay out a shocking scheme to silence Stockman and keep him locked up.

Mark Fitzgibbons, a fundraising law expert at political direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie’s American Target Advertising agency, who wrote the amicus brief for Stockman’s appeal, said “the Government’s prosecution of Steve is very disturbing on so many levels, from its incorrect legal arguments about nonprofit expenditures in the political arena to contorting innocent acts by Steve to appear suspicious. No Democrat would have been prosecuted this way.”

The matters for which Stockman was criminally prosecuted usually would have been addressed through administrative hearings with civil fines as the worst penalties. But Stockman — whose appeal makes a strong case for his innocence — was put away for a decade. The amicus brief and scores of conservative leaders are calling on the courts or the president to correct this egregious wrong.

Steve Stockman is an American hero who had the guts to expose corruption at the highest levels.

If the abuses of power that now leave him shackled are not investigated and prosecuted, then who will ever dare question the leftist power mongers in the future?

If his conviction is not overturned or pardoned, then Mr. Obama, Ms. Lerner and the liberal cronies who walked free from their own crimes will have succeeded in crushing a good man who fought to hold them accountable.

Steve Stockman worked on behalf of all Americans who are sick and tired of dirty politicians.

Every lawmaker who cares about true justice and their own honor has a duty to fight for Steve Stockman. We welcome your help.

⦁ Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@rebeccahagelin.com.

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