Is Disgraced Congressman Aaron Schock Preparing for New Campaign?

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 13, 2019

Like the proverbial bad penny, former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock keeps appearing in the headlines. Despite resigning from Congress in 2015 under a cloud of corruption allegations — and heating up social media since then with photos that purport to depict him in the company of youthful male hunks — the Republican, whose record is replete with anti-LGBTQ stances, now appears to have filed paperwork for a new congressional run.

In March, as reported by EDGE at the time, Schock made a deal to see corruption charges dropped in exchange for repaying almost $68,000 to campaign committees as well as agreeing to pay taxes owed.

As the Associated Press reported, "Schock resigned from Congress in 2015 amid scrutiny of his spending, including redecorating his office in the style of the 'Downton Abbey' TV series.

"He was indicted in 2016 on 22 counts, including wire fraud and falsification of election commission filings," the AP report noted.

As soon as he made the agreement, Schock indicated that he might try to get back into politics, telling CBS News, "At 37 years old, I don't think I'll ever say never."

Schock added that were he to run for office again, "I would identify more as a Republican than a Democrat," and claimed that "if you looked at my voting record in Congress they'd think I was a moderate."

The LGBTQ community might disagree.

During his time in the House of Representatives — he first took office in 2009 — Schock supported a Constitutional amendment that would have blocked marriage equality, and opposed ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Clinton-era compromise that theoretically allowed sexual minorities to serve in the United States military as long as they remained in the closet. He also opposed laws that would have provided LGBTQs protections from discrimination.

Despite his homophobic history, Schock was spotted frolicking with a number of shirtless young men at the Coachella music festival in April. He also posted images of himself attending an Elton John concert and spending time with openly gay pop music star Sam Smith.

Schock's revelries at Coachella were the subject of a Facebook post by James Duke Mason, an LGBTQ equality advocate, who wrote, "My intention isn't to out him or target him personally, but simply to point out the hypocrisy. I saw him at a recent gay social event in West Hollywood and shook his hand before I even knew who he was; he should really be ashamed of himself.

"And the gays who associate with him without calling him out should know better. It really is a disgrace," Mason's post added.

Two of the young men with whom Schock was photographed at Coachella — a same-sex couple - subsequently expressed dismay and apologies, saying that until the photo of themselves with Schock went public and prompted a storm of criticism they didn't know who he was.

More Schock-ing headlines followed in May when openly gay blogger Kenneth Walsh posted explicit photos to Twitter that he also posted at his own web page, along with the claim that the photos originated from "a widely-circulated JO video" in which Schock appeared.

"If repeatedly voting to harm LGBTQ people as an elected U.S. lawmaker while sleeping with men doesn't scream hypocrisy, nothing does. Will he ever repent?" Walsh posted.

Twitter responded by kicking Walsh off the platform.

Now it appears that Schock, having said he would never say never, might have concluded that now is the time for a return to politics. A June 10 tweet by Gerard Courcy included an image of a Federal Elections Commission Statement of Organization, which is paperwork required for political candidates.

"And here's a photo of Schock with his political role model," the tweet added, referring to a picture of Schock with President Trump. "Need I say more?"

The document was evidently completed by Schock on June 7 of this year and specified that the office Schock would be seeking is the U.S. House, for the State of Illinois.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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