Our Pledge To You

News

Schock prosecutors make mistake: No leak in case

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors investigating former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who last week raised the question of whether sealed documents were improperly provided to reporters, conceded Monday in a court filing there was nothing to the allegation.

That means a videoconference scheduled for Tuesday before U.S. District Court Sue Myerscough “is unnecessary” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Bass in a notice to the court dated Monday. Shortly after the Bass filing, Myerscough ordered the videoconference canceled.

The dust-up, a side issue to the ongoing criminal investigation of Schock, started last week when the prosecutors raised the issue about a potential leak to the media.

Bass appeared to be sensitive to the word “leak,” which was used in news accounts about the matter, because he wrote, “The government did not use the word ‘leak’ but simply advised the court that on Aug. 10, 2015, there were media reports containing information that appear to be derived solely” from government filings.

If Bass had double-checked the court file before starting up with the judge, he would have realized that the reporters wrote stories on Aug. 10 from documents in the public court record.

Here’s what happened: The government on Aug. 10 believed it was submitting a document with proposed redactions, Bass wrote.

However, the government did not realize that another document — containing everything — “was not sealed. As a result, the public had access to part of the government’s motion . . . on August 10, 2015, before it was unsealed the following day,” Bass wrote.

Among the revelations in the court file: Schock apparently has been tailed by federal agents.

Federal prosecutors also alleged a Peoria car dealer allowed Schock to drive a Chevy Tahoe at no cost — even after the dealer purchased it back.

The 2015 Tahoe was bought by the Schock for Congress campaign committee and figures in one of the allegations before the federal grand jury, where jurors are hearing testimony on whether Schock overcharged on mileage.

Though Schock sold the Tahoe back to Green Chevrolet — the owner is a longtime supporter — on April 6 for $46,000, he was allowed to continue to drive it at no cost, the government document says.

The court documents were unsealed in the wake of hearings on July 28 and 29 in Myerscough’s Springfield courtroom on a motion to hold Schock in civil contempt for not producing records requested in three grand jury subpoenas.

Schock’s legal team, puzzled about the government move, asked for specifics on what material was improperly made public.

The matter now seems moot.