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FEC looking into donations to Tea party candidate Steve Stockman

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman faces questions over "excessive donations" from Indian casino backers.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, at a Tea Party Patriots rally in Washington D.C on June 19, 2013
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, at a Tea Party Patriots rally in Washington D.C on June 19, 2013

The Federal Election Commission is looking into campaign donations made to Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

At issue are four donations made after Stockman proposed legislation that would clear the way for a Native American Tribe in Texas to open a casino, according to the Associated Press.

The Houston Chronicle first reported the FEC sent Stockman a letter last week asking about "excessive" contributions from donors who were sympathetic to the casino issue. The letter stated that Stockman's campaign must return half the money or "revise its accountings within 60 days of receiving the donations."

The Republican lawmaker first introduced the bill this past March, titled the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity Settlement Act, which aims to "restore an opportunity for tribal economic development on terms that are equal and fair." 

Stockman, who announced in December he planned to challenge Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in the GOP primary for Senate, received the four donations in question in April and July, the AP reported, noting that the donors cited Stockman's support of the gaming bill and the casino opening. The donations totaled about $10,000 in all.

Stockman's campaign is seen as a longshot -- it has suffered paltry fundraising and remains in debt. A recent poll showed Stockman trailing the Texas incumbent by 44 points, 50% to 6%, with 39% undecided.

First elected to the House in 1994, Stockman lost re-election but was elected a second time in 2012. Cornyn, a former Texas district judge and Texas attorney general, was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and won re-election in 2008.