San Antonio Democrat says he's cooperating with federal authorities on
their investigation into an oilfield company he's been associated with.
– Federal authorities on Thursday morning raided the offices of a San
Antonio state senator who has been associated with an oilfield fracking
company tied to allegations of investor fraud, the FBI confirmed.
enforcement officials with the IRS and the FBI are lawfully present and
conducting a law enforcement operation at that office,” said Michelle
Lee, a spokeswoman for the FBI region that stretches from Austin south
to the Rio Grande Valley, referring to the law offices of Democratic
state Sen. Carlos Uresti.
No one has been arrested in connection
with the operation, Lee said. Uresti said in a statement he is
cooperating with authorities.
Last year, the San Antonio
Express-News reported that Uresti had a minor ownership role and served
as a lawyer and an investment recruiter for the now-defunct oilfield
services company, FourWinds. Three of the company’s senior officials
have pleaded guilty to a felony charge of defrauding investors, the
"Today, FBI agents are in my office, reviewing
our documents as part of their broad investigation of the Four Winds
matter,” Uresti’s statement said. “I have instructed my staff to fully
cooperate with the federal investigators. I will help them in whatever
way I can.”
The 53-year-old Uresti, who represents a swath of
Texas that stretches from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso, was
elected to the Senate in 2006. Before that, he served in the Texas
Uresti is not the only Texas lawmaker who has had a brush
with law enforcement in recent months. In January, just after being
sworn in for her 12th two-year term, Austin Democratic state Rep. Dawnna
Dukes was indicted on 13 felony counts of tampering with state records
and two misdemeanor charges of abuse of office.
The charges stem
from allegations that she falsified travel vouchers showing she was due
cash reimbursement from the state and that she used campaign funds for
personal use. Dukes has said she is innocent of any wrongdoing and
reversed the pledge she made last year that she would resign her seat.
state Rep. Ron Reynolds, a four-term Houston Democrat, was convicted
last year of five misdemeanor counts of illegally soliciting clients for
his law practice. His license to practice law was suspended.
misfortune of those Democratic lawmakers gave Texas Republican Party
Chairman Tom Mechler an opening to rub it in on the party that holds no
statewide elective offices and is widely out-numbered in both
“The cascade of these issues prove that
Texas Democrats only care about power, as opposed to the constituents
they’re supposed to be representing,” Mechler said. “I’d be quite
nervous about the quality of candidates the Texas Democrats intend to
field in 2018 right about now if I were them.”
Uresti was at the
Capitol for a time Thursday morning but was not available once word of
the federal law enforcement began spreading at midmorning. His brother,
Tomas Uresti, a Democrat who began his first term as a state House
member in January, said he had not spoken with the senator by the time
the House floor session ended around 11 a.m.
“I only heard about it on the radio driving in,” Tomas Uresti said. “That’s really all I know, but I think he’ll be fine.”
John C. Moritz covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network in Austin.