However, the opposite happened. While Terris was still touring the office, Schock’s communications director, Benjamin Cole, sensed trouble, and a staffer asked Terris to delete the pictures he’d taken. Naturally, the reporter declined, and the piece was published, complete with photos. The derision directed Schock’s way was as swift as it was intense.
As a result, over the next month, Schock began to attract a very different kind of attention than he was accustomed to. Schock's reticence about Terris’ story soon made a lot more sense in light of a slow drip of revelations about his habit of sticking taxpayers with the bill for other extravagances, like a $1,200 trip on a private plane to see a Bears game in Chicago. It didn’t help that Cole resigned during this ordeal for posting rants on Facebook comparing African-Americans to zoo animals.
Schock reimbursed the government $40,000 for his office redecoration, but that didn’t settle the matter. In March after weeks of bad headlines, Politico asked Schock if he’d broken the law or ethics rules. The congressman would only say, “I certainly hope not,” then qualified his shaky remarks even further by insisting he couldn’t be definitive because he was “not an attorney.”
Things only got worse a week later when Politico reported that that there were huge discrepancies in Schock's mileage reimbursement requests. Schock billed the federal government for 170,000 miles logged in his Chevy Tahoe, but when he sold the vehicle in July 2014, the odometer only read 80,000 miles, meaning he overbilled by 90,000 miles—worth tens of thousands of dollars to him. Schock announced he would resign hours later.
In November of 2016, Schock was indicted on 24 counts of violating federal law, including theft of government funds, filing false tax returns, charging the government for 150,000 miles he never drove, using campaign money to buy himself a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, and using government and campaign money to pay for private plane travel, like he did with that Bears game.
However, the case never went to trial. The following year, Schock’s attorney alleged that prosecutors had asked inappropriate questions about his sex life, including whether he was gay. A House attorney also said that investigators may have broken the law by instructing one of Schock’s congressional staffers, who was acting as an informant, to take materials from his district office.
The Justice Department ended up appointing a new team of prosecutors, and Schock’s trial was rescheduled for June of this year. However, there was little indication that prosecutors were looking to give Schock a deal anywhere near as favorable as the one he received Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Schock admitted that, in addition to seeking reimbursement for miles he hadn’t driven, he’d sold tickets to events—including 46 World Series tickets and eight Super Bowl tickets—for profit, which helped him earn $42,000 that he had not reported to the IRS.
Schock didn’t seem particularly contrite afterwards, telling CBS that a “rogue prosecutor” had pursued him in a case “without merit,” and waving away all his misdeeds by saying he should merely have done a better job filing his paperwork. Schock also didn’t rule out running for office sometime in the future, saying, “At 37 years old, I don't think I'll ever say never.”
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