Republican Aaron Schock who quit Congress amid controversy over male companion faces 24 criminal charges
Republican Aaron Schock who resigned from Congress after coming under fire for not disclosing a male companion on a trip, has now been indicted on 24 criminal counts.
Mr Schock, one of the youngest congressmen to sit in the House of Representatives, stepped down last year after facing continued scrutiny about his financial arrangements over the past two months.
It emerged back in 2015 that Schock, who has consistently opposed gay rights, but who was offered $1million to star in a gay adult film, violated House rules by bringing his “full-time personal photographer”, Jonathon Link, on a business trip to India without disclosing him on his payroll.
He also accused of spending money on private flights, a Katy Perry concert and redecorating his office in the style of Downton Abbey.
The former congressman, who also faced questions about the handling of donor funds and the amount of travel expenses he had claimed, stepped down ahead of an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Schock has now been indicted on 24 criminal charges.
The indictment document, 52 pages long, includes nine counts of wire fraud, five counts of falsification of election commission filings, six counts of filing false federal income tax returns, two counts of making false statements and one of mail fraud and theft of government funds.
Speaking ahead of the charges being announced, attorney for Schock George Terwilliger said the Justice Department putting forward the charges constituted a “misuse” of its power.
“This indictment will look bad, but underneath it is just made-up allegations of criminal activity arising from unintentional administrative errors,” Terwilliger said in a statement.
“These charges are the culmination of an effort to find something, anything, to take down Aaron Schock.”
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The charges came after a 19-month investigation which included two grand juries.
“As I have said before, we might have made errors among a few of the thousands and thousands of financial transactions we conducted, but they were honest mistakes â no one intended to break any law,” said Schock in a statement published by the Associated Press.
Schock said the investigation “poked, prodded, and probed every aspect of my professional, political, and personal life.”
“Like many Americans, I wanted to have faith in the integrity of our Justice Department,” he added.
“But after this experience, I am forced to join millions of other Americans who have sadly concluded that our federal justice system is broken and too often driven by politics instead of facts.”
Schock has long been dogged by rumours that he is a closeted gay man – which he and his family have denied.
“He is not gay,” he father famously told reporters, “he is just stylish!”