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Congressman Aaron Schock facing ethics heat in DC

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A rising star in the Illinois Republican party is facing some heat in Washington.

Congressman Aaron Schock of Peoria is the subject of an ethics investigation.

Schock was investigated first by the Independent Office of Congressional Ethics who referred the case to the House Ethics Committee.

The committee is asking for some more time to evaluate the case and decide if they will do anything.

They warned against a rush to judgment. In many cases, these ethics referrals result in no action.

Schock recently said he is considering a 2014 run for Illinois governor.

Schock has built up sizable political muscle, in addition to the abs that made him semi-famous two years ago when he posed for the cover of a men's magazine.

Once the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly he went on to be the second youngest elected to Congress.

The public details of an ethics investigation are not as flattering.

A report on campaign contributions that Schock solicited for a fellow Republican candidate, found that there was "substantial reason to believe" he violated federal law, House rules and standards of conduct.

Fundraising regulations cap such a solicitation for a super-political action committee at $5000.

Schock is said to have obtained $25,000 on behalf of the candidate and a total of more than $100,000 for the Super-PAC, according to ethics investigators.

Schock said he did nothing wrong and that his lawyers had cleared the transaction ahead of time.

"As our counsel's submissions to OCE and the Ethics Committee make clear, the complaint in this case is entirely without merit," Schock's Communications Director Steve Dutton told ABC7 News. "We remain firmly convinced that Congressman Schock will be exonerated when the Ethics Committee examines the complaint and in due course resolves this matter."

Under House rules, the Ethics Committee had to release the referral documents on this case.

How it pans out is likely to affect Schock's political future.

House Ethics Committee report on Rep. Aaron Shock

Ethics Committee chairman statement on Rep. Aaron Shock

Rep. Schock response, filed with Ethics Committee in December

Full Statement on Wednesday from Steve Dutton, Communications Director, Office of Congressman Aaron Schock:

"The news from the House Ethics Committee today about a case involving Congressman Aaron Schock is in regards to the same complaint that has been covered in the media for nearly a year dealing with donations to a Super PAC that was involved in the Kinzinger-Manzullo primary election last spring. The release by the Ethics Committee of this report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is just one more step in the long process of adjudicating ethics complaints that can be submitted by anyone for any reason.

"OCE is the outside organization that reviews complaints before they are considered by the Ethics Committee. There are many cases that OCE refers to the Ethics Committee that ultimately are dismissed because they are without merit. As our counsel's submissions to OCE and the Ethics Committee make clear, the complaint in this case is entirely without merit. 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.

"Per our legal counsel's advice on this pending review, we will not have any further comments on each of the many steps in this process until the final outcome."

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