U.S. representative Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) was indicted with his wife, Imelda, on Friday on charges of accepting almost $600,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijani energy company and a Mexican bank, the Justice Department announced.

Cuellar allegedly accepted the payments after they had been laundered through fake consulting contracts to shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar, according to the DOJ. In exchange, Henry Cuellar allegedly pursued policy in favor of Azerbaijan, the department said. Cuellar also allegedly took money from a Mexican bank and influenced members of the executive branch to make policy favorable for the bank, according to the department.

Cuellar asserted his innocence in a statement Friday after NBC News reported federal prosecutors’ plans for an indictment. The Cuellars appeared in a federal courthouse in Houston on Friday over the charges.

If convicted and given the maximum sentence, Cuellar could face decades in prison.

Cuellar said his actions were “consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people.”

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” Cuellar said, without addressing what the allegations were about. “Before I took any 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.”

A spokesperson for the House Ethics Committee declined to comment on Friday.

FBI agents raided Cuellar’s Laredo home and office in 2022—just weeks before his competitive primary election. His lawyer at the time asserted he was not the target of the investigation. ABC News reported shortly after that the investigation was related to Cuellar, his wife, and one of his campaign staffers and their alleged ties to Azerbaijan. The Texas Tribune and several national news organizations asked a federal court to unseal the search warrant in 2022.

Cuellar is a member of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus and has been a fervent advocate for the country’s interests in Congress.

Cuellar traveled to Azerbaijan on a $25,000 trip with his wife, Imelda, in 2013, paid for by the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians. Shortly after, a Cuellar staffer went on another trip to Azerbaijan with several members, including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, that was also facilitated by the group.

The group is based in Texas and was led by Kemal Oksuz, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to partaking in the cover-up of the Azerbaijani government’s role in financing the 2013 congressional trip that included Jackson Lee. Oksuz admitted to lying in disclosures to the House Ethics Committee on the source of funding for the trip, which came from the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Oksuz also worked with Cuellar to establish a program for Texas A&M International University students to study energy issues in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Exxon Mobil and the Azerbaijani government were also involved in the creation of the program.

Azerbaijan is known for lavish spending on foreign lawmakers to advance its interests. The country has reportedly spent billions on treating European lawmakers in a practice derisively known as “caviar diplomacy.” The country spends about half a million dollars a year on lobbying in Washington, according to OpenSecrets.

The 2022 search by federal investigators on Cuellar’s home came only a few weeks before a competitive primary against progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros, a Laredo-based immigration attorney. He ended up winning in the primary by 0.6 percentage points.

Cuellar said in his Friday statement that he will still run for reelection in November.

Cuellar is the fourth-longest-serving Democrat in the Texas delegation and is an established fixture in the House Democratic Caucus. He is known for occasionally crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans, including for votes reflecting his personal aversion to abortion and in support of stricter border security. He is the only Democrat in the House who opposes abortion rights.

He is also a major proponent of the oil-and-gas industry, which is responsible for a large part of his district’s economy. Azerbaijan is a major oil-and-gas producer.

Still, he is well respected within the Democratic caucus for his prolific fund-raising and reliability on major votes that count. Democratic leadership under Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported Cuellar when Cisneros challenged him in the 2020 and 2022 primaries. Cuellar won in both primaries and the 2022 general election, despite heavy investment from Republicans to flip South Texas. He beat his 2022 Republican opponent, Cassy Garcia, by over thirteen points.

After Cuellar’s 2022 win, Republicans have considered the district less competitive and are investing more heavily in the nearby Rio Grande Valley–based Fifteenth and Thirty-fourth districts. Two Republican challengers will face off in a May 28 runoff for the chance to challenge Cuellar in the general: Jay Furman and Lazaro Garza.

Furman issued a video statement shortly after the news of a potential indictment, blasting Cuellar as being part of an establishment that is “selling us to other nations.”

“They’re trading us for their deep pockets and their forever policies that are against the values of South Texas,” Furman said. “Exciting that maybe one of them will get their due.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Garza said: “There is no place for corruption in Congress!”

The National Republican Congressional Committee also called on Cuellar to resign.

“If his colleagues truly believe in putting ‘people over politics,’ they will call on him to resign. If not—they are hypocrites whose statements about public service aren’t worth the paper they’re written on,” NRCC spokesperson Delanie Bomar said in a statement.

Some Texas Democrats have already done so for another longtime lawmaker who was recently indicted. After the Justice Department charged Senator Bob Menendez, D–New Jersey, on several counts of corruption and bribery related to his ties to Egypt, a handful of Texas members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called for his resignation.

House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement that Cuellar deserved a fair trial and the “presumption of innocence throughout the legal process.” Jeffries said Cuellar would forfeit his position atop the Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security. House Democratic rules require a committee chair to step down if they are indicted for a crime with a possible prison sentence of more than two years.

This article originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.