Aaron Schock Denounces 'Out-Of-Control' Probe Into Lavish Expenditures

Aaron Schock

Aaron Schock is still fighting his corruption charges.

In November 2016, the former Illinois congressman was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of diverting government and campaign funds to his personal use.  

Schock allegedly used these funds for expenditures like mileage reimbursements, interior decorating of his Washington office in the style of the TV show Downton Abbey, and a charter flight to a sports game in Chicago. He is also accused of filing false income tax returns and using false statements and fake invoices to cover up his fraud. 

On Wednesday, Schock made a rare appearance in federal appeals court in an attempt to throw out the indictment. His legal counsel argued that the rules being used to prosecute him as a former member of the House of Representatives were vague.

“An ambiguous rule cannot be used to support the prosecution of a member of Congress,” argued Schock’s lawyer Benjamin Hatch, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

However, Chief Judge Diane Wood and Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "appeared unconvinced by arguments that the case against him should be thrown out," reported Politico. "A trial for Schock is on hold while the legal issues are sorted out."

Schock expressed displeasure with the ongoing investigation in a statement released after his appearance.

“The government spent two years and two different grand juries investigating every aspect of my 14-year public service career. They investigated my business endeavors, from the age of 18 years old to the three years since leaving office, and they even investigated my personal life," Schock said.

"It’s a sad day in America when our U.S. Justice Department will stop at nothing, not even trampling the Constitution in its zeal to prosecute. Thankfully we have the courts, and I am confident they will provide the necessary check on this out-of-control prosecution."

It has been a long road of scandal for Schock. The Republican politician resigned in March 2015 in the wake of scrutiny of his alleged misuse, which he has been fighting ever since.

While in office, which he entered in 2009, Schock was a vocal opponent of LGBT equality. He received a 0 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign in his first term, during which he voted against including sexual orientation in federal hate-crimes legislation and opposed efforts to repeal of the military's ban on out LGB service members known as "don't ask, don't tell." He was also a vocal critic of the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in February 2011.

However, rumors of Schock's sexuality have followed him throughout his political career.  In 2014, gay journalist Itay Hod wrote a scathing Facebook post asking why it was not acceptable to out antigay politicians who are in the closet, never directly mentioning Schock, but linking to a piece on out blogger John Aravosis's site titled "7 Gayest Aaron Schock Instagram Posts of 2013."

The rumors flared up again after reports that Schock failed to formally disclose the presence of a male photographer who accompanied him on a business trip to India. The photographer, with whom Schock had reportedly worked in the past, did not appear on the former congressman's payroll until the month after the two men returned from India. 

In mid-2017, lawyers for Schock claimed federal investigators asked inappropriate questions during their probe, including whether he’s gay. The “prosecutor and agents have dug into every aspect of Mr. Schock’s life by any means necessary. No topic has been off limits. The federal government has even delved, repeatedly, into the most intimate details of his life, including repeated inquiries to witnesses into who he has slept with and whether he is gay,” Schock’s legal team said in a memo.

Tags: Politicians

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