The Justice Department accused former Rep. Aaron Schock of running his congressional office and campaign committee like a personal money-making operation in a stunning, 24-count criminal indictment Thursday.
Federal prosecutors allege that Schock pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in improper mileage reimbursments, camera equipment, and proceeds from selling tickets to the World Series and Super Bowl. Schock even used a front corporation to make money from an annual constituent “fly-in,” the indictment states.
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Schock (R-Ill.) and his attorney, George Terwilliger of McGuire Woods, say the ex-congressman was guilty of nothing more than sloppy bookkeeping. Terwilliger said the media unfairly targeted Schock, forcing him to resign.
Prosecutors, however, tell a much different story.
Schock claimed – and was paid – for “fraudulent claims for mileage reimbursements” totaling $138,663, a phenomenon first uncovered by POLITICO, according to the indictment. He charged the government and his campaign committees for “approximately 150,000 miles more than the vehicles for which he sought reimbursement were actually driven,” the indictment reads, echoing stories from 2015 in POLITICO.
In perhaps the most stunning charge, the Justice Department said Schock invited his constituents to come to Washington for a “fly in” event, and charged them a fee to cover the cost of the events. But, according to the indictment, Schock secretly asked a friend to open a bank account in Florida under the name “Global Travel International,” where Schock deposited the funds. In June 2011, he paid himself nearly $4,500 in excess fees out of the account, and closed it three years later.
Among the other charges:
• Schock charged a limited liability company he started for $11,000 for “services rendered,” and had the money sent to his residence in Illinois, prosecutors say.
• In August 2013, Schock used American Express points to book a vacation to Europe from Washington …