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Committee launches Schock probe

Monday, Dec 17, 2012

* The US House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it’s investigating Congressman Aaron Schock

The chairman and ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, in making the disclosure Friday, said the panel would “announce its course of action” on or before next Jan. 28.

Steve Dutton, Schock’s spokesman, told the Tribune that the ethics review involved super PAC money.

That appeared to refer to reports that Schock solicited a $25,000 contribution from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political action committee to help fund a super PAC that favored Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a March primary against Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill.

The Federal Election Commission is examining that conduct because federal officeholders may seek a maximum donation of $5,000 for a super PAC.

* Schock talked to his home town paper

In an interview Friday evening, Schock described the news as frustratingly routine.

“When somebody files a complaint against you, it takes several years to go through the process,” the Peoria Republican said, noting “it’s not a new complaint, it’s not a new report,” but merely the next phase of an ongoing investigation.

He said the issue relates to the $25,000 donation he sought from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to a super PAC aiding Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Manteno during his successful primary campaign against Rep. Don Manzullo of Egan. […]

A similar complaint with the Federal Election Commission by two good-government groups — Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center — claims Schock was only allowed by law to seek a $5,000 donation.

* More

Ethics officials would not discuss whether the super PAC was a focus of the investigation — or the sole focus. Schock also has come under scrutiny over his spending of campaign money for meals and hotels. Dutton said, however, the probe had nothing to do with Schock’s campaign spending, including a hotel bill from Greece that was reported this year by a watchdog group.

After Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington detailed Schock’s use of campaign dollars, he reimbursed his war chest for a $1,136 stay in 2009 at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a luxury hotel in Athens. Federal election law does not allow the use of campaign money for vacations.

At the time of CREW’s disclosure, Schock aide Steven Shearer called payment for the Greek hotel a “mistake.” He said a credit card receipt for the hotel had erroneously been “included with a stack of other legitimate campaign expenses.”

Man, that Greek hotel will make one heckuva TV ad if Schock runs for governor.

Your thoughts on all of this?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - shore - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:25 am:

    He’s impressed with the life. You don’t read stuff about him working on bills or leading things you read “spottings” of him at various “after hours events” and see pictures of him in “outfits” on gawker. Some people go to dc like al franken and hillary clinton after getting elected in 08 and 00 and buckle down others get into trouble.


  2. - Colossus - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:33 am:

    If I remember correctly, this ethics probe was being floated even back in the 2010 campaign, though nothing was firm then.

    I saw a connected Republican friend recently and mentioned Schock was making a bit of noise. My friend gave me a look and just said “Anybody can make noise.”


  3. - Moe - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    “When somebody files a complaint against you, it takes several years to go through the process,”

    And I’m going to enjoy hearing about this story every day for the next few weeks as anyone who is anyone, down to the janitors in Springfield comment on it, news (relevant or irrelevant) slowly drips out, and yet another Illinois politican is bled dry by a death of a thousand cuts.

    Good times, yo…


  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:37 am:

    http://www.grandebretagne.gr


  5. - just sayin' - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    darn I was hoping Schock would make the leap and run for governor, thus likely ending up with no office. But this looks like a game ender.

    and yeah nice try on the hotel “mistake” Aaron. you’re just sorry you got caught.


  6. - Endangered Moderate Species - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    He would have been an interesting gubernatorial candidate. His ego may still make it fun for the political theater. As for him winning the Republican primary, that train just left the tracks.


  7. - vole - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    Hey, you are talking about my representative, i.e. another conservative ideologue masquerading as as a middle of the roader. What did happen to the Dirksens, the Michels, and the LaHoods who actually did represent the moderate middle of the districts and the state? Ain’t there a revolving door there in D.C. for Schock to cash in on? He has certainly knows how to run the requisite campaign finance shop (maybe). OK, I got no respect.


  8. - Easy - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:04 pm:

    This is just a lot of smoke, no fire. So someone in a GOP primary is going to attack him for raising $$ for another IL republican? Give me a break. It’s not like he did a commercial for Obama or something….


  9. - ZC - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    It’s eye-opening that the Greek hotel bit ( very likely legal ) would cause Schock more grief in a race than the Super PAC solicitation ( possibly breathtaking in how casually, arrogantly illegal it was for Schock to do ). But weird as the legal line Schock is accused of crossing, it makes sense to enforce it. Otherwise in 2014 candidates will spend all their time directly chasing million dollar contributions to their respective Super PACs, in person.


  10. - bored now - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    Schock is relying on the fact that the public doesn’t really pay attention, and is probably completely unaware of the fact(s) that, 1. the ethics committee has an equal number of Ds and Rs, 2. that there has been a virtual moratorium on ethics investigations for almost a decade, and 3. the ethics committee is stepping into the void left by the paralysis in the FEC. but Schock is right about how slow the process is, and maybe he is expecting to run for a different office before they conclude their investigation and vote on a punishment for any infractions…


  11. - Much Ado - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Great chatter for insiders. Largely irrelevant for the average person. You can solicit 5K but not 25K? That’s the kind of absurd minutiae that the public hates.


  12. - ChicagoR - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    I’m no fan of Schock or his positions on pretty much any issue, but it doesn’t look to me like there’s anything significant here to affect his political future.


  13. - Endangered Moderate Species - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:07 pm:

    “So someone in a GOP primary is going to attack him for raising $$ for another IL republican?”

    If he chooses to run for Governor the primary attacks will be light on details and heavy on the fact he broke the rules. He will also be attacked for staying at a high-end hotel and charging it to his campaign fund. The days of the GOP playing well together have gone by. These are exactly the kind of actions that drive the tea pots crazy. If he survives the primary, the Dems will most certainly attack him on these issues.


  14. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    Schock makes Quinn look qualified for governor!


  15. - ZC - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:50 pm:

    Much Ado,

    Yes, if you believe in contribution limits (not everyone does, fair enough) then at some point an arbitrary threshold has to be defined. Else it’s not a question of soliciting $2500. It’s a question of soliciting $25 million.

    That’s the way campaign finance works. If someone commits a small violation a couple of grand above the set limit, and nothing happens, then that’s not a conclusion that 25K is now the new ceiling; the conclusion is there are no effective limits whatsoever.


  16. - palatine - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 4:27 pm:

    never been impressed with him


  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 5:36 pm:

    Seems pretty weak Borscht. The House Ethics Committee is as slow as molasses. I doubt there’s much there there.


  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 6:34 pm:

    Unsolicited advice: Just stay away from Greece, guys. Seriously, are unnecessary trips abroad and other expenses worth all the controversy, the potentially negative impact on your reputations, and careers? Talk about missing the forest looking for the trees.

    And, it looks just plain tacky.


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 9:20 pm:

    Reminds me of an acquaitance whose spouse decided to run for office. Rented a limo (using campaign funds) to drive them around from event to event to impress the voters.

    Still can’t understand why they lost.


  20. - Bemused - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 9:32 pm:

    From what I’m seeing here this may not be a big deal. That’s fine it may be fun to see him take a run at the big chair. I feel his run so far has been pretty much on greased rails. Let’s see how he does if he has to slog it out in the trenches.


  21. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:27 pm:

    Seems frustratingly routine to me. I wish they had something that would make him Blago’s cellmate for life. Those two are birds of a feather. But it doesn’t look like they have much.


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Dec 18, 12 @ 7:29 am:

    It is a big deal. The campaign ads will feature Schock’s mugshot along side Jesse Jackson’s.

    The bigger deal is that after JACK! Ryan, this is the kind of stuff that gives big donors the heebeejeebees. Schock might be able to spin it within the friendly confines of a hometown paper, but the Tribune isnt in the tank, and big donors can see this for what it is: blatant disregard for the law.


  23. - Louis Howe - Tuesday, Dec 18, 12 @ 8:08 am:

    Schock reminds me of another former reckless Congressman, Jerry Weller. There’s a pattern developing.


  24. - quincy - Tuesday, Dec 18, 12 @ 5:54 pm:

    Hey XGov Rod you got an x bed in your cell. Just tell the truth for wants. You lie like the rest of them in D. C.


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