Former Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock Indicted on 24 Counts

Charges include filing false tax returns, fraud and theft of government funds; Ex-congressman denies allegations

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R., Ill.), shown above in 2014, on Thursday was indicted on 24 counts, including filing false tax returns, fraud and theft of government funds.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Nov. 10, 2016 4:28 p.m. ET 10 COMMENTS

CHICAGO—A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted former Rep.Aaron Schock on 24 counts, including filing false tax returns, fraud and theft of government funds.

“These charges allege that Mr. Schock deliberately and repeatedly violated federal law, to his personal and financial advantage,” U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis said. “Public office does not exempt him or anyone else from accountability for alleged misuse of public funds and campaign funds.”

Mr. Schock, a Republican from Peoria, Ill., was elected in 2008 to Congress and was at that time its youngest member.

He resigned in March last year, amid a federal investigation that began with reports he had redecorated his congressional office in the style of homes in the British TV period drama Downton Abbey.

The indictment alleges Mr. Schock falsely said the redecoration of his congressional office, which included a $5,000 chandelier and a $40,000 payment to a decorator, was done with materials from his district and was to “suit the member and the staff’s needs.” It also alleges he used campaign funds to purchase a new Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and government funds to pay for personal camera equipment.

Mr. Schock on Thursday said the allegations were false and that he hadn’t “intentionally” done anything wrong. “We might have made errors among a few of the thousands and thousands of financial transactions we conducted, but they were honest mistakes; no one intended to break any law,” he said, dismissing the investigation as politically motivated.

Mr. Schock’s lawyer, George Terwilliger, said he believed the timing of the indictment, right after the national election, was an example of “political maneuverings in the federal justice system.”

Mr. Schock was a colorful and prominent presence within the House of Representatives, known as a fitness buff who posed showing off his abs for a cover of Men’s Health magazine. He was also active on social media, cataloging his world travels on Instagram and Twitter.