Rep. Aaron Schock’s congressional ethics troubles may be over once his resignation takes effect, but questions surrounding the Illinois Republican’s actions may eventually result in jail time, a possibility even his family has begun to realize.
Schock’s father, Richard, told ABC station WLS in Chicago that his son’s freedom “all depends on what the Department of Justice wants to do.”
“Ten years from now, whatever he’s doing, he will be successful at. I promise you that,” Richard Schock said in an interview outside his home Wednesday. “Two years from now he will be successful if he’s not in jail.”
A law enforcement source said that while the FBI has not launched an investigation into Schock’s actions, the matter is something authorities are “monitoring.”
His father believes the four-term lawmaker, 33, has been unfairly targeted.
“Aaron is very popular. Aaron is a little different. He wears...stylish clothing, and yet he’s not gay,” Richard Schock said. “He’s not married, and he’s not running around with women. So everyone is throwing up their arms – they can’t figure out Aaron. So he must be crooked. So attack him. Bring him down because he doesn’t fit into our picture. He hasn’t done anything to hurt people.”
Once Schock’s resignation officially takes effect on March 31, at least one pending House ethics investigation will end.
Before any of the drama over decorating his office to resemble the set of "Downton Abbey," Schock was already under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules and standards of conduct. That investigation will end March 31 with the end of Schock’s service in Congress.
The Office of Congressional Ethics was also reportedly beginning its own probe into Schock’s expenditures. That probe will also end on the 31st, as OCE doesn’t have jurisdiction over former members of Congress.
Schock has repaid all money he’s received during his congressional career from expensing mileage, hoping to get ahead of any potential legal ramifications for allegedly bilking the Treasury out of tens of thousands of dollars by overstating mileage on his official auto trips.
“In an effort to remove any questions and out of an abundance of caution, Congressman Schock has reimbursed all monies received for official mileage since his election to Congress,” a Schock aide wrote in an email.
Schock has not turned up since word of his pending resignation. So where in the world is he?
Associates close to the Illinois Republican suggest he is unlikely to wait out the storm in Washington or from his district in Illinois. One former ally believes Schock is likely hunkered down in Southern Florida, where a network of friends could easily help keep him out of the public eye.
Although he was once considered one of the GOP’s rising stars, even Schock’s father admits his son lost his focus.
“He got a little careless,” he said. “Some things maybe he thought didn’t apply to him. I don’t know. I don’t know what all went through his mind.”
ABC News’ Mike Levine contributed to this report