NEWS

Schock will not be charged in document dispute

Andy Kravetz

No charges will be filed against state Rep. Aaron Schock for improperly signing a document eight yeas ago as a notary public.

The Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office announced in a statement Monday it would not file charges against the Peoria Republican because, in part, the statute of limitations had expired. Also, there wasn’t evidence Schock’s actions were “knowing and willful” or “reckless or negligent,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Seth Uphoff. Such terms are important as prosecutors must prove either intent or negligence to sustain a charge.

Last week, The Associated Press reported Schock’s father testified at a federal trial in June his son had notarized papers with false dates while helping his parents set up tax shelters eight years ago. The allegations came during the trial of three people accused of setting up bogus trusts which allowed people to put untaxed money into those trusts to avoid paying taxes. The Schocks were among those taken by the scam.

Schock could have faced a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct by a notary public.

“This area of law has its own section for extended limitations that somewhat lengthens the usual period that misdemeanors be filed within 18 months of their commission,” said Uphoff in the statement. “However, under the most generous interpretation available, any such statute of limitations for filing an infraction on allegations such as these, would have expired approximately three years ago.”

The investigation by Kevin Lyons’ office came at the request of Democrat Colleen Callahan who is running against Schock and Green Party candidate Sheldon Schafer for the 18th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria.

In a statement, Callahan said the end of the investigation didn’t mean Schock was cleared.

“Just because the statute of limitations ran out doesn’t mean the offense wasn’t committed,” she said. “It means no one knew about it in time to actually do anything about it. The statute of limitations never runs out on honesty, integrity and character. Now the court of public opinion must make its own judgment on Nov. 4.”

Schock brushed off the allegations, saying it has been a “distraction from the real issues at hand and consistent with her campaign.”

“All of her time, energy and money have been spent attacking me,” he said. “I am talking about why you should vote for me, and she has been talking about why to vote against me.”

Schafer, the Green Party candidate, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday night.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 orakravetz@pjstar.com.