A watchdog group on Monday filed a complaint against Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock alleging he sold his house to a campaign contributor for a price well above its market value.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Schock violated federal law and House gift rules in his 2012 home sale.
Schock sold his home in Dunlap, Illinois to former Caterpillar, Inc. executive Ali Bahaj for $925,000, more than three times its assessed value, according to liberal website Blue Nation Review.
Caterpillar is headquartered in Schock's district and Bahaj, the executive, former vice president, had donated to Schock, the website said.
The complaint alleges Bahaj donated $2,300 to Schock’s campaign in 2008 and $1,000 to his joint fundraising committee and contributed to Caterpillar PAC, which has given $10,000 to Schock in each election cycle since he first ran for congress.
The congressman has said the home's selling price was in line with other nearby properties. Schock also told reporters during a stop in Peoria on Friday that his real estate agent handled the transaction and he never spoke to the buyer.
"There's nothing there," Schock said.
Schock bought the proptery in 2003 for $128,250, according to property records.
The 4,100-square-foot home — with four bedrooms and three fireplaces — was completed in 2007, records show. The following year Schock won his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Schock said the home was listed for four years before it sold in 2012 for $925,000. He noted there were other homes in the area that sold for more, and that the price per square foot of comparable home sales "were right in line with what everything was selling for at that time."
A review of property records by The Associated Press found between 2011 and 2013, homes of comparable size in the neighborhood consistently sold for three times their assessed value, or more. That includes one 5,400-square-foot home on more than half an acre — about double the size of Schock's lot — that sold for $1.07 million.
But Schock's home sold for about $225 per square foot — about $50 to $75 more per square foot than other homes in the same area that were listed at similar size and condition.
Schock's spokesman did not immediately respond Monday to a reporter's request for comment about the complaint.
The Washington watchdog group also filed an ethics complaint accusing him of accepting decorating services for free and using campaign funds to pay for office furniture.
Schock has since said he plans to pay for the elaborate “Downton Abbey” décor and told reporters he hadn’t received an invoice yet.
Schock was also recently questioned after an aide posted racially charged comments on social media.