Rep. Aaron Schock (R – Downton Abbey) lawyers up after new spending revealed

Following reports that Illinois Republican Aaron Schock paid for private flights to and around his home district using taxpayer and campaign dollars, possibly in violation of House ethics rules, a new report from the Associated Press shows new spending by the Congressman on public and campaign accounts that has led our nation’s most Abercrombiefied member of Congress to lawyer up.

From POLITICO:

Schock has hired William McGinley and Don McGahn of the Washington law firm Jones Day to lead his legal team. Veteran GOP communications operatives Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh are helping manage his response, according to sources close to the matter.

As well he should; the spending details are nothing short of impressive. Here’s an abridged list:

  • $40,000 worth of flights on donors’ planes since 2011
  • $74,000 for a Chevy Tahoe
  • Five-star hotel stays; meals at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace; and visits to high-end clothing stores in London
  • Over $50,000 in campaign expenditures for the use of his car
  • Congressional reimbursements for car mileage to the equivalent of roughly 250,000 miles driven during his six years in office

The London trip is especially of interest because it included events sponsored by the Prince of Wales Foundation, a private organization, and was not an official government trip. And, again from POLITICO:

If the trip was approved by the Ethics Committee, Schock then would have had to disclose the itinerary and who paid for it to the ethics panel and on his annual financial disclosure form. Schock did not report the trip.

If it was a political excursion, Schock could have used campaign funds. However, the London itinerary does not appear to involve any congressional or political activities.

So one of the following must be true: Schock either paid for his London trip out of pocket, received improper gifts or, at the very least, is really bad at paperwork.

Given the already-numerous ethics issues surrounding Schock (and his penchant for English decor), both the former and latter seem unlikely. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has already filed an ethics complaint against him regarding the sale of his Peoria home to a donor for a cost above market value. He has also been tied to the donor-swapping scandal centered around disgraced former Congressman Mike “Break You In Half, Like A Boy” Grimm. He also narrowly avoided an official congressional investigation into his allegedly soliciting improper donations from lawmakers in 2012 — that case is still not officially closed.

With that all in mind, Schock certainly hasn’t earned himself any favors from the already-skeptical media and public when it comes to how he manages other people’s money. This is a guy who goes out of his way to flaunt an objectively decadent lifestyle, embodying a man who is practically begging to get taken down a peg for flying a bit too close to the proverbial sun.

But damn, that sun did feel good, didn’t it?

Only the little people pay for their own foreign travel.

Only the little people pay for their own foreign travel.

 


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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