Steven Ross Quoted in The Hill on Use of Confidential Informant in Case Against Former House Member

Akin Gump litigation partner Steven Ross has been quoted by The Hill in the article “Prosecutors under scrutiny in Schock case,” regarding the criminal case against former Rep. Aaron Schock, who is charged with fraud for allegedly using taxpayer money to pay for lavish trips and events. Schock was indicted last year on 24 counts, and his trial is set for this summer.

The article reports that the FBI’s decision to use one of Schock’s former staffers as a confidential informant could complicate the prosecution’s case against him. Some, according to the article, have described the move as troubling and saying it raises questions about constitutional provisions that mandate a separation between government branches, among other things.

Ross, who co-heads Akin Gump’s congressional investigations practice, said, “It threatens the core architecture of our system of government. It’s not something that people should gloss over here.”

While prosecutors have said they don’t plan to use all of the information at trial gleaned from the informant, Ross noted, “The genius of the Constitution is the notion of there being three separate and independent branches of government. The notion that the executive branch would, in essence, plant somebody within a legislator’s office, it goes against the nature that each branch is supposed to function independently.”

Ross continued, “I know there will be people who will say, if people aren’t doing anything wrong, they shouldn’t be worried about having their conversations recorded or [having] a mole planted in their office. But the Constitution is not built on an ends-justify-the-means basis.”