Cuellar Bribery Investigation Reveals Vicente Gonzalez Connection

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez | Image by U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez 2024/Facebook
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez | Image by U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez 2024/Facebook

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez received $3,500 in donations from a man who pled guilty to federal charges related to the bribery investigation into fellow Democratic Texas congressman Henry Cuellar.

Cuellar allegedly recruited Florencio “Lencho” Rendon to facilitate payments in a scheme to take more than $200,000 in bribes from a Mexican bank, court records revealed. Rendon reached a plea deal with the Justice Department in March as part of the investigation into Cuellar, who allegedly took $600,000 in bribes from Azerbaijan and the Mexican bank.

Gonzalez has received $3,500 in campaign donations from Rendon since 2019, with the most recent donation coming last year. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment. The congressman previously emphasized the importance of allowing the courts to determine Cuellar’s fate.

“We have one of the greatest judicial systems in the world that would be able to hear and judge the case at some point,” Gonzalez said, per The Texas Tribune.

Cuellar was indicted along with his wife, Imelda, this month as a part of the federal investigation, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The couple’s purported bribery scheme allegedly began in 2014 and continued into 2021. The FBI raided their Laredo residence in 2022.

Cuellar denied any wrongdoing and claimed he asked for approval from a national law firm and the House Ethics Committee before taking the foreign payments.

Delanie Bomar, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, slammed Gonzalez for refusing to condemn Cuellar.

“Birds of a feather flock together, and it’s clear that Cuellar and Gonzalez are in the same self-serving politician flock,” she told The Dallas Express. “While inflation and the border crisis hurt South Texans communities, Cuellar and Gonzalez are more worried about helping themselves.”

Gonzalez faces a tight reelection rematch this year against former Republican Rep. Mayra Flores.

Rendon previously served as chief of staff for former Rep. Solomon Ortiz Sr. (D-TX). He donated $1,000 last year to the Texas House campaign of his former boss’ son, ​​Solomon Ortiz, Jr., The Texas Vote reported.

Ortiz Jr. denied any direct ties to Rendon.

“Mr. Rendon has no affiliation with or involvement in my campaign,” he told The Dallas Express. “Upon discovering his connection to the case, his contribution was promptly returned. It is well-documented that Mr. Rendon departed from Congressman Ortiz’s office in 2006 and subsequently relocated all his business operations to San Antonio, Texas.”

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