WASHINGTON -- The House Ethics Committee revealed today that it is investigating the conduct of House Republican Aaron Schock of Peoria.
The 31-year-old lawmaker entered the House in 2009 and won a third term last month.
The committee did not make public how Schock may have violated House ethics rules, but said an outside ethics panel, the Office of Congressional Ethics, transmitted a “matter” to the committee on Aug. 30.
The chairman and ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, in making the disclosure Friday, said the panel would “announce its course of action” on or before next Jan. 28.
Steve Dutton, Schock's spokesman, told the Tribune that the ethics review involved super PAC money.
That appeared to refer to reports that Schock solicited a $25,000 contribution from Majority Leader Eric Cantor's political action committee to help fund a super PAC that favored Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a March primary against Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill.
The Federal Election Commission is examining that conduct because federal officeholders may seek a maximum donation of $5,000 for a super PAC.
It was unclear whether that might be the sole focus of the ethics investigation.
Earlier this year, Schock repaid his campaign $1,136 for a stay at a luxury hotel in Greece in 2009. The money was repaid after a watchdog group reported it.
Federal election rules don't allow the use of campaign funds for personal vacations. The bill for the Greek hotel was reported by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
"The hotel in Greece was a mistake," an aide to Schock said at the time.
The aide, Steven Shearer, said then a credit card receipt had been "included with a stack of other legitimate campaign expenses. That receipt should not have been mixed in with his campaign receipts for that month."
The House Ethics Committee declined to comment further on its disclosure. Kelly Brewington, a spokeswoman for the Office of Congressional Ethics, citing office rules, declined to comment on the conduct it had reviewed or why or how it began its review.
The Office of Congressional Ethics may review lawmaker conduct, but it does not have the power to discipline a House member. Sanctions fall to the 10-member House Ethics Committee.
Under protocols for the Office of Congressional Ethics, the office conducts investigations and recommends to the House Ethics Committee that a matter requires further review -- or that the committee should dismiss the matter.
When the office makes a recommendation, it may send the ethics committee a report that includes citations to the laws, rules or regulations that may have been violated.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times