Aaron Schock probably violated House rules with flight expenses

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock isn’t doing himself any favors when it comes to dispelling the notion that he is America’s bougiest Congressman.

Last Thursday, USA Today reported that Schock — who recently completed a positively fabulous redecoration of his Capitol Hill office as a homage to Downton Abbey — has spent $8,000 in taxpayer money  and an additional $5,800 from his leadership PAC on Lobair LLC since 2011.

Lobair is not a commercial charter service. The company is comprised of one guy with a Cessna who happens to live in Schock’s district, a man by the name of Mike Miller. Miller owns Mike Miller Auto Park; his plane is not registered for commercial use.

In addition to the flights taken with Miller, Schock has reportedly flown around his district in a private helicopter owned by another local auto dealer, Jeff Green of Green Chevrolet. Schock’s campaign finance filings showed $1,661 in in-kind travel expenses payed to Green.

House ethics rules generally prohibit using private aircraft for official or campaign purposes, so as to ensure that members of Congress do not receive perks that ordinary citizens would not be able to receive. In fact, as the USA Today report notes, there are rules written specifically to deal with the kinds of flights Shock has been taking:

A 2007 ethics reform put similar restrictions on the use of private aircraft by candidates, saying that candidates may not “make any expenditure for a flight on an aircraft” unless it is on an FAA-certified air carrier or commercial operators. Those changes were motivated by several ethics scandals, including the case of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who provided flights and other favors to lawmakers…

…The House rules were amended in 2013 to allow for the use of some private flights, but members are required to pay for them as if they were flying on a commercial charter. Public spending records do not show whether Schock did that.

Congressman Schock has a well-documented affinity for the finer things. During his time in Congress, he has spent more money in more places around the world than almost any other member. He’s racked up over $90,000 in campaign expenses on private air charters alone, and a similarly eye-popping $91,369 in legal fees over the past two years to keep track of his various political and official spending operations.

Aaron Schock partying in Greece, courtesy of his  now-private Instagram account.

Aaron Schock partying in Greece, courtesy of his now-private Instagram account.

Not to mention that, on all of these trips, Schock has a personal photographer tagging along for totally not-gay reasons that allow him to best-represent his constituents in Peoria, Illinois.

Seems legit.

It’s unlikely that this round of spending disclosures will matter all that much for Schock. He won reelection in 2014 with 75% of the vote, and Peoria voters have repeatedly proven that they don’t care all that much where their representative spends their money. After more than six years of treating himself as a member of Congress, it might take a little more than spending revelations to do any political damage to one of Congress’ most rabidly anti-gay members.

Speaking of which…

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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14 Responses to “Aaron Schock probably violated House rules with flight expenses”

  1. heimaey says:

    I love catching a good hypocrite red handed. Personally, he’s too cut for me. I like my guys more regular looking. I get the appeal, but just not my thing.

  2. Lantor says:

    Anyone want to bet he’s already got a wink and a promise for a real nice job if/when he loses as long as he keeps helping his “friends”?

  3. Indigo says:

    My sister lived and taught in Peoria for 30 years before retiring. Her entire political view is based on exactly one, downstate Illinois, issue . . . whatever! Just so it’s not Chicago! I think rabid anti-Chicago sentiment explains it. He can do anything he wants, as far as Peorians are concerned, as long as he stays clear of entanglements with Chicago Democrats. That’s Peoria for you. Looking for a clear understanding or the semblance of logic? Try Minneapolis or Vancouver. Maybe Seattle.

  4. The_Fixer says:

    I’m amazed that the people of Peoria don’t constantly bump into each other while walking, what with the blinders that they seem to be wearing. They make for poor peripheral vision.

  5. AnitaMann says:

    That girl needs to get a job.

  6. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Personally, I hope he’s straight. The less I have in common with him, the better. Although, I wouldn’t mind having his abs. Never mind, my husband wouldn’t recognize me if I did.

  7. I’m writing a piece about this for tomorrow. I saw it coming. I’m just surprised “he” didn’t see it coming. His behavior is very un-Washington, and not in a good way. Someone should have told him that he was showing off far too much, and far too publicly.

  8. hidflect says:

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.”

    And it all starts when you lie to yourself, Aaron.

  9. Indigo says:

    You’re probably right. It might involve . . . well, I can’t imagine.

  10. heimaey says:

    I wish someone would get some proof and out him.

  11. BeccaM says:

    Schock is a Republican, hence why he’ll never not get away with it.

  12. Demosthenes says:

    “After more than six years of treating himself as a member of Congress, it might take a little more than spending revelations to do any political damage to one of Congress’ most rabidly anti-gay members.”

    Indeed it would. Perhaps an enterprising reporter can reveal what we all know about him. Such a revelation would ensure he leaves Congress

  13. caphillprof says:

    I suspect the reality is more tawdry than we can imagine.

  14. Indigo says:

    It’s okay, he’s cute. Ask anybody in Peoria. I mean, if they didn’t approve, they wouldn’t vote for him. Right?

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