Congressman Indicted For Bribery Spent Roughly Half Of Campaign Cash On Legal Fees

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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A congressman indicted for a bribery scheme involving the Azerbaijani government has spent over half of his campaign cash this cycle on legal services, records show.

Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar spent more than $750,000 on payments to various law firms during the 2024 election cycle as authorities investigated him for accepting foreign bribes, constituting roughly half of the $1.6 million total the congressman spent during that period, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show. The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Cuellar in early May, alleging that the congressman had accepted $600,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijanian Government-controlled oil and gas company and a Mexican bank in exchange for shifting American foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan.

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations. Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas,” Cuellar said in a statement, denying his guilt. “The actions I took in Congress were consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people,” he continued. (RELATED: DOJ Indicts Longtime Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar)

Cuellar served as the co-chair of the House Azerbaijan Caucus in Congress at one point and has been an advocate for the oil-rich Caucasian nation during his time in office.

Cuellar’s legal payments were first reported by Open Secrets.

“The bribe payments were allegedly laundered, pursuant to sham consulting contracts, through a series of front companies and middlemen into shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar, who performed little to no legitimate work under the contracts,” the DOJ’s press release on the indictment reads. “In exchange for the bribes paid by the Azerbaijani oil and gas company, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to use his office to influence U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan,” the statement continues.

The lion’s share of Cuellar’s legal fees went to Clifford Chance LLP, a multi-national legal firm, FEC records show. Some of the funds went to Perkins Coie, a firm associated with the Democratic Party that specializes in political law.

The Cuellar campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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