The Associated Press reported that the United States Justice Department has initiated a criminal investigation against Republican Illinois Representative Aaron Shock. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has begun issuing subpoenas to potential witnesses, who could be compelled to testify against the GOP Congressman.
On Tuesday, the embattled Republican announced he was resigning from Congress, effective March 31st. His announcement came after it became readily apparent that he might face a prolonged inquiry into House ethics violations.
However, the federal inquiry may subject him to serious criminal charges as well. The Associated Press reported Friday, that according to a source close to the case, government officials were planning to convene a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois to bring federal charges against Shock.
The federal probe will have plenty of avenues to pursue as Shock’s prolific spending habits and ethical lapses have spawned a torrent of allegations surrounding the disgraced lawmaker.
Shock was once viewed as a rising star within the ranks of the GOP. He was touted as a dapper fellow, with great abs, who could lure young voters into the Republican fold with his youthful enthusiasm and good looks. He even spearheaded a major recruiting effort, to try to encourage Republicans under 40 to run for office.
Despite his youthful exuberance, Shock still pursued the same outdated policies of his older House Republican colleagues. Furthermore, rather than changing the culture of corruption in Washington, he embraced it. He not only embraced it, but injected steroids into it, turning political graft into a source of personal enrichment so that he could live lavishly. Although he ran as a fiscal conservative, he bilked the taxpayers to subsidize his expensive tastes.
Shock, of course, touted himself as a fiscal conservative who would eliminate government waste, even as he was apparently billing taxpayers for vehicle miles he never drove. Like so many Republican lawmakers he demands his constituents, especially those who are poor, take personal responsibility for their lives, and he counsels them not become dependent on government support. Yet, like so many of his Republican colleagues, he does not hold him self to the same standards. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to think he should be required to obey the law.
Now that a federal investigation into Shock’s criminal behavior is underway, it is clear that he is now a falling star. Shock flaunted the rules with such reckless abandon that he figuratively shot himself in the foot. In the process, he demonstrated quite clearly, that the Republican’s “young guns” don’t shoot any straighter than their grey-haired counterparts on Capitol Hill.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.