Former Rep. Aaron Schock has agreed to repay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and to campaign committees in exchange for prosecutors dismissing his felony corruption case.
Schock appeared Wednesday morning in Chicago federal court where he agreed to repay his three campaign committees nearly $68,000. He must work with the Internal Revenue Service to determine how much he owes in taxes. If he holds up his part of the deal, prosecutors will drop the original felony counts that were filed against him within six months.
Schock, a Peoria Republican who represented parts of Bloomington-Normal, resigned from Congress in 2015 amid scrutiny of his spending. He was indicted in 2016 on 22 counts, including wire fraud and falsification of election commission filings.
Schock told reporters after Wednesday's court hearing that "there was never an attempt by me or my staff to commit crimes."
His defense attorney, George Terwilliger, called prosecutors in central Illinois "overzealous."
A political science professor who studies government corruption disputes that claim. Attorney Tom McClure at Illinois State University said what Schock confessed to is far from frivolous.
“There were some acknowledgments that he—in black and white—acknowledged as far as violations of the law,” McClure said. “So when you say there wasn’t anything to it or that (prosecutors) were overzealous, I understand the posturing that’s taking place, however there’s certain wrongdoing that’s been acknowledged by (former) Rep. Schock.”
Schock admitted to getting mileage reimbursements beyond what he drove and profited from the sale of World Series and Super Bowl tickets which he did not report.
McClure added a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case might have opened the door for an appeal based on separation of powers.
He said Schock may get a new lease on life to his political career.
“He will walk away from this deal, assuming that he does what he is required to do, with absolutely zero criminal consequences," McClure said.
Prosecutors are instead filing misdemeanor charges against Schock's campaign committee.
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