Questions are flying at Pete Gallego—the feds on one side and voters on the other—and he has no way out.
In early August, the Republican Party of Texas sued Pete Gallego, a former Democrat congressman and state lawmaker running in the special election to replace disgraced felon State Sen. Carlos Uresti of San Antonio.
The lawsuit centered on Gallego’s residency. While Gallego claims to live in Alpine, which is in SD-19, he is reported to actually live with his wife in Austin, where he has worked as a lobbyist since leaving Congress. Gallego’s Austin residency would render him ineligible to represent Senate District 19 in the Texas Senate. The district, which leans Democrat, encompasses parts of San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, and West Texas.
In order to put an end to the questions about his residency raised in the August lawsuit, Gallego signed a notarized document claiming he has lived in Alpine his whole life.
Now, the Republican Party of Texas has filed a complaint with the FBI, based on the advice of the US Attorney for the Western District of Texas. The complaint centers around a home loan Gallego obtained from Chase Bank in which he claimed a home in Austin was his primary residence.
The information Gallego provided Chase Bank, which is insured by taxpayers through the FDIC, directly conflicts with the notarized document he signed to prove he is eligible to run for office in SD-19.
It is explicitly in violation of federal law to make false statements to a financial institution insured by the FDIC. Charges relating to falsifying mortgage loan documents have been central in the trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman.
Now Gallego is stuck. Either he must admit he defrauded Chase Bank, and by extension, taxpayers when he lied about his primary residence, or admit he defrauded voters when he signed a document saying his primary residence has always been in Alpine.
James Dickey, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, highlighted the complaint in a press release on Friday.
Pete Gallego simply cannot have it both ways. He is either lying to the Secretary of State and the SD19 voters, or he is lying to the bank. Just this week we’ve seen high profile cases where federal prosecutors have obtained convictions and guilty pleas based upon lying to financial institutions. It is entirely appropriate that the FBI look into these serious allegations given that Pete Gallego essentially confessed to the offense in a sworn affidavit and a Travis County District Court.
Voters will head to the polls on September 18th to determine the next State Senator from SD-19. Gallego is competing in the runoff against Pete Flores, who has the endorsement of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.