Democratic Texas Congressman Diverted Campaign Contributions To Company He Owns

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) has diverted tens of thousands of dollars worth of contributions to his reelection campaign to a private company he owns and manages.

He has sent at least $33,000 in campaign funds to Tenant Services LLC, a property management company. The payments were made for office rent, and reporting now indicates that Gonzalez himself is the owner and operator of the company receiving the payments. The scheme provides Gonzalez with income in addition to the $174,000 in cash salary he receives annually as a House member.

Ethics rules allow lawmakers to pay themselves for office rent if the amount does not exceed fair market rates. However, the corporate media attacked President Trump for allowing his political offices to rent space at Trump Tower in New York City. The Washington Post and other outlets described the arrangement as a “sleazy scam” and a “con.”

This is not the first ethically questionable situation Gonazalez has put himself in. Over the last decade, he and his wife claimed homestead exemptions on two different pieces of property. That move reduced the taxes they have paid by thousands of dollars. He has also failed to disclose stock transactions within the time required by law.

It turns out that Gonzalez’s campaign office is at the same address as his law firm, V. Gonzalez and Associates. He disclosed income of $110,000 from the firm in 2021 tagged as “attorney fees.”

His law firm has a history of representing controversial clients through the decades. He was retained in the 1990s to represent a group of drug dealers who allegedly conspired to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana along with substantial amounts of cocaine. Another of his clients, Richard Contreras, pleaded guilty while Gonzalez was representing him to federal charges stemming from a conspiracy to smuggle more than a ton of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.

Gonzalez was first elected to Congress in 2016 from Texas’s 15th Congressional District. He replaced longtime incumbent Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, and most recently won reelection in 2020 by only three percentage points over Republican Monica de la Cruz.

That narrow result likely led to Gonzalez’s decision to run this year in the redistricted 34th Congressional District, which became more tilted toward Democrats after this year’s redistricting process.

He faces the new incumbent in that district, Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX), who became the first woman born in Mexico to ever win election to Congress and the first Republican to win much of the new district since 1870.