SPRINGFIELD — Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has spent more $1 million out of his campaign fund on lawyers—and yes, that’s legal.
The latest Federal Election Commission filing show Schock has taken out more than $1 million in legal fees in the past three months as a federal grand jury looks at his campaign spending. Schock resigned from Congress in March after reports he overbilled both his campaign and the government for mileage reimbursement. He also got attention after lavishly redecorating his office in a “Downton Abbey” theme.
Kent Redfield, political science professor at University of Illinois Springfield, explains Schock can spend campaign cash on his defense since it’s related to his conduct as an elected official. If it wasn’t, that would be a different story.
“Criminal activity such as robbing a liquor store or defrauding someone in a private business deal, then you could not use your campaign, that would be for personal use,” Schock said.
Redfield says if prosecutors could prove there were corrupt activities involving the fund, they could then charge the fund itself and then drain it through fines, as they did when prosecuting former Gov. George Ryan.
Despite resigning from office, Schock is still reporting fundraising-related expenses to his campaign fund, including more than $22,000 on renting event space in Aspen, Colo.
Redfield says that’s unusual, but unless the fund is ordered to be closed, he expects Schock will slowly spend the money down. Schock has $2.1 million left in his campaign fund.