SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois pled not guilty to 24 felony counts alleging that he misused his campaign funds and official House office budget to pay for his luxurious lifestyle during an arraignment in Federal Court Monday. He waived his right to have the 52-page indictment read in court.
The 35-year-old Republican is accused of using government and campaign money to subsidize a lavish lifestyle, as well as pocketing thousands of constituents' dollars. Prosecutors say he hosted Washington tours and meet-and-greets, charged a fee and kept some of the cash.
Proceedings will be in U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough's courtroom in Springfield, Illinois. Schock is from Peoria and had asked for the case to be moved there. Prosecutors didn't want the case moved. The judge ruled that proceedings should remain in Springfield.
Schock was indicted on 24 counts last month. He resigned in March 2015 amid intensifying scrutiny over real estate deals, extensive travel and other spending. The trial date was set for Feb. 7 at 9 a.m., but a continuance is expected, so it will most likely start in late February.
Shock's travel is restricted to the U.S. except for work-related trips, and when he's traveling in the U.S. he must return to Peoria, where he keeps his legal residence, even though he actually lives and works in in Los Angeles.
He is not allowed to have direct or indirect contact with 100 witnesses, and he can't discuss the case with his own family. The government wants to keep him from speaking to potential witnesses in case it could affect their potential testimony. He can't have weapons, and must surrender his FOID card.
One open question remains what will happen to his remaining campaign funds. Three campaign accounts still have a balance, including Shock for Congress ($290,000), GOP Gen Y ($73,000), and the Shock Victory Fund ($16,000).