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Rep. Schock bills taxpayers for mileage on vehicle bought by campaign

WASHINGTON – After Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., dipped into a campaign fund to pay $73,896.96 for a Chevrolet Tahoe and put the SUV in his name, he later charged taxpayers for mileage, the Sun-Times has learned.

According to the latest House disbursement records, Schock was reimbursed $1,218 for what is listed in House records as “private mileage” between last Sept. 1 and Oct. 1. The money came from Schock’s taxpayer-funded House member allowance.

The car is registered to the Peoria lawmaker, according to Illinois Secretary of State vehicle records, obtained by the Sun-Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The records show that the Tahoe is Schock’s only vehicle and he is listed as the “single owner” of the SUV. At the time the Tahoe was purchased last July, Schock traded in his 2010 Chevrolet.

A Sun-Times examination that looked at how Schock handled expenses for the SUV — which was purchased by the Schock for Congress campaign fund — had been previously reported. That the campaign bought the car for Schock and that he chose such a costly vehicle are not the central issues.

At issue in this report is the taxpayer mileage reimbursement.

According to the House Ethics Manual, “It is permissible for a Member to lease or purchase a motor vehicle with campaign funds and to use that vehicle on an unlimited basis for travel for both campaign and official House purposes.”

The manual also allow states: “Campaign funds may also be used to pay the expenses incurred in operating the vehicle, such as insurance, maintenance and repair, registration fees, and any property tax.”

However, when a member drives a vehicle paid for from campaign funds for personal purposes, the House Ethics Manual notes that Federal Election Commission regulations call for reimbursement to be made within 30 days from personal funds.

The House Ethics Manual does not appear to address the issue of charging taxpayers for mileage when a campaign-purchased vehicle registered in the name of the lawmaker is used for official House purposes.

Schock’s spokesmen were asked for an explanation about the mileage payment and if any reimbursements have been made for personal use. They have not yet responded. This report will be updated when they do.

The Tahoe was purchased on July 19, 2014, and the purchase price is listed as an expense on a Shock for Congress report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

On Jan. 14, 2015, the Schock for Congress committee sent a $202 check to the Illinois Secretary of State to cover registration fees for that vehicle, according to a canceled check examined by the Sun-Times.

Last September, the Schock for Congress committee paid $27,533.41 for a Ford Fusion.