Former Rep. Aaron Schock was officially cleared Wednesday of criminal charges alleging he used his campaign funds as a personal piggy bank, six months after the Illinois Republican struck a deal with federal prosecutors.
The deferred prosecution agreement, first announced in March, required Schock to pay $42,000 to the IRS and $68,000 to his congressional campaign fund. His campaign committee, Schock for Congress, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to properly report expenses. Schock admitted to overbilling the House of Representatives for mileage as he drove around his district for both official and campaign purposes.
A Wednesday hearing before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly closed out a rollercoaster of events in Schock’s career, culminating in the agreement. Deferred prosecution agreements are best known for cases against corporations or large organizations and are less common for public corruption cases against individuals.
The deal leaves Schock with a clean record, which could open the door for another run for public office.
Just 27 years old when he was first elected in 2008 to represent Illinois’ 18th District, Schock was the House’s resident reality star for three full terms. He was a media darling, appearing on television programs such as “Top Chef” and was a fixture of the Hollywood online tabloid TMZ, earning the ire of many of his colleagues but the attention of young people. In 2012, he posed shirtless for a Men’s Health magazine cover.
That attention led to increased media scrutiny, which tanked his political career when The Washington Post revealed a lavish project Schock undertook, remodeling his D.C. office to resemble a set on popular British drama “Downton Abbey.”
The investigation drove him to resign from his seat in May 2015. Schock had been indicted in 2016 on 24 criminal counts, including charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, theft of government funds, making false statements, filing false reports with federal election officials and filing false tax returns.