There are two reasons to seek political office:
- A genuine desire to help others and make things better;
- A thirst for money and power.
If you’re looking for the former, I suggest examining our own Kira Davis’ school board campaign. The latter … examples abound, but this latest one is particularly heinous. As recently re-revealed, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) has, in the past, accepted donations from a family linked to the Mexican Zetas drug cartel.
The story started in February 2012. From My San Antonio:
On Feb. 8, federal agents raided the Stone Oak-area home of Antonio Peña Arguelles, arresting the 56-year-old legal resident from Mexico and accusing him of money laundering. An affidavit filed by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent outlining the allegations against Peña Arguelles made serious accusations about Yarrington.
An informant “described Antonio Peña Arguelles as a conduit between Mexican politicians, in particular Tomas Yarrington, and Zeta (drug cartel) members Miguel Treviño Morales and Heriberto Lazcano,” the agent wrote.
The affidavit went on to allege that Peña Arguelles funneled millions of dollars from the Zetas to Yarrington and other elected officials.
Yarrington is a longtime Mexican politician who Texas politicos feted during his time in office. He pled guilty in March 2021 to conspiracy and money laundering charges.
Again referring to the My San Antonio article from February 2012:
The fallout’s reaching the U.S., too. A spokesman for the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and his brother, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, said they’ve returned or given to charity campaign donations from Peña-Arguelles, the accused conduit between the cartels and Mexican politicians.
In 2007, Peña Arguelles gave $1,500 to Martin Cuellar’s election campaign, and in 2006 Antonio Pena’s then-wife, Armandina, gave $1,000 to the re-election effort of Henry Cuellar.
Martin Cuellar asked the person who solicited the donation from Peña Arguelles to return it, said spokesman Colin Strother, and Henry Cuellar donated the money to charity. They did so last year, after learning that Peña Arguelles’ brother was slain in Nuevo Laredo and his killers left a note accusing the brothers of working with the Zetas.
Lest one assume Cuellar is squeaky clean as he gave the money to charity, in January 2022, the FBI raided his Texas home as part of an investigation later revealed as connected to Cuellar’s ties with Azerbaijan. In August 2022, multiple news organizations requested the warrant served in January 2022 be unsealed. To date, it remains under wraps.
Cuellar is in a tenuous position as he seeks re-election in his overwhelmingly Hispanic district. His Republican opponent, Cassy Garcia, has been walloping Cuellar on such issues as stating his first vote if re-elected would be for Nancy Pelosi. Garcia has solid credentials, such as experience working for both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. She is a woman of faith, a wife (her husband is a Border Patrol agent), and a mother.
Garcia has a legitimate shot at victory in the November 2022 election, even against a supposed moderate Democrat such as Cuellar. This campaign is one to watch.