Former presidential candidate says Rep. Henry Cuellar should resign amid bribery indictment

By Jen Krausz on
 May 6, 2024

Former Democrat primary candidate Rep. Dean Phillips (MN) is encouraging Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) to resign after being indicted on federal bribery charges last week. 

“While the bar for Federal indictment is high, trust in our government is low,” Phillips said in a post to X. “That’s why office holders and candidates under indictment should resign or end their campaigns, including Sen. Bob Menendez, Donald Trump, & Rep. Henry Cuellar.”

The Justice Department says that Cuellar and his wife Imelda accepted $600,000 from an Azerbijan energy company and a Mexico City bank and that Cuellar agreed to influence national laws to benefit the country and the bank and to give a pro-Azerbijan speech on the House floor.

The bribes were reportedly received between 2014 and 2021.

Cuellar denies charges

He and his wife are charged with bribery, unlawful foreign influencee, and money laundering.

Cuellar said in a statement that he and his wife are not guilty of the charges.

“Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas,” Cuellar said. “Before I took action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm.”

He added, “Furthermore, we requested a meeting with the Washington D.C. prosecutors to explain the facts and they refused to discuss the case with us or hear our side.”

Possible prison time

The Cuellars turned themselves in to police on Friday and were arraigned on the charges before a judge in Houston. They were released on $100,000 bond each.

If convicted on the charges, they could spend decades in prison.

According to the indictment, the couple were receiving $25,000 a month from the energy company to a shell company owned by Imelda Cuellar and two of their children under a vague contract for unspecified strategy and consulting services.

The indictment alleges that little or no actual work was performed under the contract, which is called a "sham."

About Cuellar

Cuellar was at one time the co-chair of the Azerbaijan Caucus in Congress.

It's worth noting that Cuellar is one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. The information that led to his indictment was discovered during a search of his home that was initially unrelated to his involvement in any wrongdoing.



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