WASHINGTON — Congress said Tuesday it has been told at least four staffers who worked for former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury as part of an ongoing probe into the congressman’s expenses.
The Justice Department issued its subpoenas in recent weeks to current and former Schock staffers as it examines expense accounts, his re-election campaign spending and his relationships with political donors. A Springfield, Illinois, grand jury began hearing testimony about the matter earlier this month.
The House clerk reported Tuesday the subpoenas were issued to Schock chief of staff Mark Roman, Peoria district office manager Bryan Rudolph, district chief of staff Dayne LaHood and executive assistant Sarah Rogers.
The Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet previously reported that Roman, Rudolph and former communications director Ben Cole had been summoned to testify before a grand jury.
Schock, a Republican, resigned from Congress March 31 following months of press reports into his office and political spending, including improper mileage reimbursements and trips on his donors’ aircraft, as well as business deals with those contributors.
Federal investigators who questioned likely grand jury witnesses had previously indicated during their questioning that the probe would go beyond Schock’s office expenses. They’re interested in how his money was spent and his business relationships with his donors, according to a person familiar with the probe but who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Schock’s staff did not immediately return phone calls and emails Tuesday afternoon seeking comment. Congressional staffers are required under House rules to notify the speaker if they’ve been subpoenaed.
The grand jury in this case could indict Schock or not, and it also could target other possible co-conspirators. Individuals can also avoid a grand jury by pleading guilty or otherwise cooperating before they are indicted.
Schock’s resignation followed revelations over six weeks about his business deals and lavish spending on travel, personal mileage reimbursements and office redecorating in the style of “Downton Abbey.” Congressional ethics investigators had begun probing Schock’s conduct in the days before his announcement, but that probe was expected to shut down because of the federal investigation.
JACK GILLUM, Associated Press