Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., spent $25,000 last fall for a former Chicago Bears linebacker to headline his re-election campaign's kickoff fundraising event, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission .
Brian Urlacher, a former NFL Rookie of the Year, headlined “Schocktoberfest” on Nov. 7, a $50-per-head fundraiser held at a brewery in Peoria, Ill .
“My family understands the important role of public service," Urlacher said in a statement before the event. "My brother, Casey Urlacher, was elected mayor of Lake County’s Mettawa, Ill., earlier this year. In Peoria, he was fullback-linebacker for the Peoria Pirates. So we’re both looking forward to visiting our friends in central Illinois."
An event appearance fee was paid to B.U. Enterprises, according to the Schock Victory Committee’s year-end filing. Illinois public records show B.U. Enterprises is a company registered to Urlacher.
Schock's campaign did not return a request for comment on the appearance fee.
The Schock Victory Committee, a joint fundraising account, raised $226,000 and spent $216,000 in the fourth quarter, according to the committee's year-end report.
The committee transferred $100,000 of what was raised to other committees and PACs, including $14,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $69,000 to Schock’s leadership PAC, $6,000 to Schock’s campaign account and $11,000 to Illinois’ 18th District GOP Central Committee, according to the filing.
While the $25,000 appearance fee is perfectly legal, it's unusual to see such a hefty sum for an event appearance on a campaign finance filing.
"Generally speaking, the rule of thumb seems to be that outreach to smaller donors costs more than raising money from bigger donors, who tend to be insiders," said Bill Allison, a campaign finance expert with the Sunlight Foundation. "Insiders don't need a former Bears player there to show up — they go to a fundraiser to talk to the member."
Schock has, however, been tied to the alleged donor swapping scandal surrounding Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. Both Schock and Grimm received donations from Diana Durand, a Texas woman arrested for allegedly funneling money through other donors to skirt federal campaign finance limits.
The House Ethics Committee recently decided not to form an investigative panel to look into allegations that Schock improperly asked for super PAC donations from members of the House Republican Conference.
Schock is currently chairman of the NRCC's March Dinner , for which he has already raised $1 million. He pledged to raise $1 million more before the March 26 event.
Schock is not facing a competitive re-election battle. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried Schock's 18th District by 23 percent in 2012.
Illinois' 18th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.