Many elected officials in the state of Illinois have been branded as being corrupt and unethical. Many aldermen, city officials, county officials and governors have gone to jail. Now you can start adding Congressmen to that list, with the revelation in yesterday's Chicago Sun Timesby columnist Michael Sneed, that former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will be going to jail to serve "significant jail time."
In another stunning development, which involves a Congressman from Illinois, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is the subject of a House ethics investigation. Rep. Schock is accused of violating campaign finance laws and House rules by allegedly soliciting a contribution from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) in 2012 to an anti-incumbent super PAC that was involved in a Republican House primary in Illinois, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Is this a minor infraction of House ethics rules? Actually, that is what Jesse Jackson Jr. thought when he was under investigation by the same committee last year. We saw how that worked out for him.
Rep. Schock was just helping a friend as Schock solicited a donation from a Cantor-controlled Super PAC to give money and support for Adam Kinzinger in his GOP primary battle against Rep. Don Manzullo.
Can't a friend help a friend?
But first, he must get past this ethics investigation, but in Rep. Aaron Schock's defense, the Peoria Journal Star says that Schock claims that what he did was legal and proper. However, Jesse Jackson Jr. said essentially the same thing last year. Jackson essentially said it was nothing.
This investigation may well be nothing.
Rep. Schock's spokesman Steve Dutton issued a statement that "reiterated previous assertions that the complaints were 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,” Steve Dutton said in his statement. He also said that the office would not comment further until the final outcome of the committee’s investigation.
With former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. about to go to jail, many thought this was just a Democratic party thing. But Congressman Aaron Schock is a Republican.
The question is how bad is it?
Rep. Schock has acknowledged he is considering a run for governor of Illinois. However, many believed that Schock is far too young and inexperienced to be governor of Illinois. Given this juicy bit of ethics news here, it appears that Schock is eminently qualified. This is all the experience he needs.
My guess is this is much ado about nothing. But for Rep. Aaron Schock, it is a start. If Schock takes this as a warning, a red flag, he may even survive politically.
Just ask former Governor George Ryan a Republican. Or just ask former Governor Rod Blagojevich a Democrat. This kind of stuff knows no party bounds.
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns and is currently an unpaid volunteer for the Robin Kelly for Congress campaign. Robin Kelly also has a facebook fan page.
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