A federal investigation has been launched into whether departing U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) misused public and campaign funds. FBI agents in Springfield are now conducting a criminal investigation into Schock’s spending, specifically looking at his mileage reimbursements, travel paid for by campaign donors, and his personal financial deals involving those donors.
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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) expected this would happen, even after Schock announced he would resign from Congress.
“We have to remember that when we talk about the misuse of campaign or official funds, we are talking about potential violations of the law,” Durbin said. “So the fact that they are looking into this seriously at the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield is not a surprise.”
While Schock has since repaid many of the questionable expenses that led him to resign—including $40,000 for office decorations that began the scandal — Durbin says that shouldn’t end any criminal investigation.
“It doesn’t work that way,” Durbin said. “In many instances, if you have violated the public trust, if you misused public funds, saying I’ll pay them back doesn’t get you off.”
Schock staffers have been issued subpoenas, and a grand jury is expected to be convened next month in Springfield. The FBI investigation into former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was handled in Washington.