*** UPDATE *** You can read the investigators’ full report by clicking here.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
Congressional investigators have recommended a full House Ethics Committee probe of Rep. Aaron Schock for allegedly soliciting contributions of more than $5,000 for a political action committee to help an Illinois colleague engaged in a bitter primary battle last year, records released today showed.
* But Politico makes this point…
Reps. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Ethics chairman and ranking member, announced Thursday that they will continue to probe the allegations against Schock under their own authority but will not create a special investigative panel.
The decision by Conaway and Sanchez makes it unlikely that Schock will ever be sanctioned by the Ethics Committee.
Even without a sanction, this revelation is gonna make for some devastating TV ads if Schock decides to run for governor. Just devastating.
Schock has been under investigation for urging House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor to shift $25,000 from his leadership PAC to the Campaign for Primary Accountability to assist Rep. Adam Kinzinger in his March 2012 GOP primary victory over Rep. Donald Manzullo in the state’s new 16th District.
But investigators said that between March 14 and March 17 — three days before the primary contest, the Campaign for Primary Accountability received at least $115,000 in contributions “as a result of the efforts of Representative Schock and his campaign committee.”
In addition to Cantor’s leadership PAC, the 18th District GOP central committee donated $25,000. Other donors investigators cited were David Herro, a wealthy money manager from Chicago who gave $35,000, and Anne Dias Griffin, who gave $30,000. Dias Griffin is a Chicago hedge fund manager and founder of Reboot Illinois, a GOP-oriented social media operation.
Reboot Illinois has a story on its front page about possible jail time for former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., but nothing about the Schock story.
* Schock’s react…
A spokesman for the Peoria Republican dismissed the announcement as “just one more step in the long process of adjudicating ethics complaints that can be submitted by anyone for any reason.”
“The complaint in this case is entirely without merit,” said Steve Dutton, Schock’s communications director. “We remain firmly convinced that Congressman Schock will be exonerated when the Ethics Committee examines the complaint and in due course resolves this matter. We fully cooperated with the OCE review, and we will continue to cooperate as the Ethics Committee now conducts its own review.”
* And this is pretty unsettling…
Freshman U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, did not cooperate with the Office of Congressional Ethics in its initial probe of alleged campaign finance violations by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.
“The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred,” the OCE said in a report made public Wednesday.
The report recommends that Davis and three other non-cooperating witnesses be subpoenaed. […]
Davis said the report does not suggest any improprieties on his part.
Wait. He mummed up and refused to talk to investigators? That requires some explaining from the freshman. And that sure looks like it was improper.
The investigatory panel said Davis, who was formerly a staffer for Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville until his election in November to Congress, was a “non-cooperating” witness. Davis, investigators said, helped steer money to the Campaign for Primary Accountability.
Also listed as “non-cooperating witnesses” by investigators were Michael Bigger, chairman of the 18th District Central GOP committee, and Rob Collins, a former chief of staff to Cantor, the report said.
* Meanwhile, in other congressional corruption news…
Sneed has learned a plea deal is now on the table between former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and federal authorities probing allegations of campaign fund misuse.
Sneed is told the plea deal includes Jackson serving time in federal prison.
“Significant jail time is now definitely a part of the deal,” said a top Sneed source close to the probe.
“But I think [Jackson’s wife] Sandi, feels like she was thrown under the bus by her husband, ” now that a separate probe has begun on her, a second source added.
Sandi Jackson claims she was stunned by campaign finance abuse disclosures against her husband, who has been treated for mental disorders and allegedly spent $40,000 on a Rolex watch purchased with campaign funds.