Evidence emerges that Republican congressman attempted to pressure bank on behalf of donor

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On Friday, the Houston Chronicle posted a bombshell report regarding Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from central Texas. Williams allegedly used his position on the House Financial Services Committee to try to assist one of his top donors deal with a bank.

According to court documents, Williams sought to set up a meeting between the CEO of UMB Financial Corp and Gary Martin, an oil field investor who has donated $25,000 to Williams since 2012. The matter was regarding the bankruptcy case of Diamondback, a company that owes money to Martin’s corporation Repeat Precision. Martin felt that UMB’s actions jeopardized Repeat Precision’s ability to recover a $40 million lawsuit judgement from Diamondback and wanted to deliver the message in person.  

According to Attorney Kyle Hirsch, Williams exerted inappropriate pressure on UMB to get Martin in the room with their CEO.  “The Congressman indicated that his role on the Financial Services Committee included legislation that was coming down the pike and that he was urging the bank to meet with his constituent or there would be adverse consequences as it relates to his role on the Financial Services Committee,” Hirsch said in his deposition.

UMB’s lawyers voiced objections and the meeting never happened. 

Williams is currently being challenged by Julie Oliver, a progressive Democrat who has railed against the influence of dark money in politics and is refusing all PAC money. Oliver blasted Williams’ actions on Twitter soon after the story broke. 

Polls show a tight race between Williams and Oliver.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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