Remember former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock? A clumsy attempt to cover up the taxpayer-funded redecoration of his offices in a Downton Abbey motif led media and investigators into other alleged misuses of funds, including allegations of mileage overbilling. Schock resigned 20 months ago, shortly after the start of his most recent term in office, while the feds served him with a subpoena. According to Schock’s own attorney, he’s getting indicted — and it “will look bad”:
An attorney for former Peoria congressman Aaron Schock said a federal indictment against his client is expected Thursday.
Schock, 35, resigned from Congress on March 31, 2015, amid a federal criminal probe into how he spent campaign dollars and his $1 million-plus annual office budget.
On the same day, he was served with a subpoena outside his Peoria home by three federal agents. The subpoena told him to appear before the grand jury and turn over large number of records from the previous five years. …
In a statement, Schock said Thursday that federal investigators spent “19 months, using two grand juries and millions of taxpayer dollars in an attempt to manufacture a crime.”
It does indeed look bad. The Associated Press reports that Schock will face 24 counts, including wire and mail fraud as well as six counts of filing false tax returns. Schock’s attorney cautions everyone from jumping to conclusions based on the indictment alone:
Aaron Schock’s attorney, George Terwilliger, called the expected charges a “misuse” of prosecutorial power by the Justice Department.
“This indictment will look bad, but underneath it is just made-up allegations of criminal activity arising from unintentional administrative errors,” Terwilliger said in a statement. “These charges are the culmination of an effort to find something, anything, to take down Aaron Schock.
It’s always a fair point to remind people to wait until they see the evidence before reaching a conclusion. However, the manner of Schock’s departure doesn’t exactly build confidence in a nothing to see here defense. Citing “unintentional administrative errors” also sounds like an admission that any “manufactured” crimes about to be alleged had raw resources provided by the former Congressman to the manufacturers.
Schock also makes another point worth mulling over. It’s difficult to know the extent of the alleged misuse of funds until we see all of the evidence, but it’s at worst a few million dollars. The Department of Justice took that to two grand juries to pursue an indictment — which if the allegations are well founded was certainly appropriate. Yet the same DoJ seems to consider it not worth their time to take the evidence of pay-to-play operations in the Clinton Foundation-State Department nexus, potentially involving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, to a grand jury for review — let alone the scores of prima facie violations of 18 USC 793(f) in Hillary Clinton’s secret and unauthorized personal e-mail system. Maybe Schock should see if Bill and Hillary are looking to adopt a son.