Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock has a taste for the finer things—like a Downton Abbey-themed office and near-constant travel on private jets. But who, exactly, is bankrolling Schock's lavish lifestyle? The AP did some digging and came up with an utterly unsurprising answer—donors and taxpayers:
Schock's House account paid more than $24,000 directly to a Peoria aviation firm for eight flights provided by one of Schock's donor's planes in 2011 and 2012. ... The donor planes include an Italian-made Piaggio twin-engine turboprop owned by Todd Green of Springfield, Illinois, who runs car dealerships in Schock's district with his brother, Jeff. Todd Green told a Springfield newspaper that Jeff — a pilot and campaign contributor — and Schock have been friends for a long time. ... Beyond air travel, Schock spent thousands more on tickets for concerts, car mileage reimbursements — among the highest in Congress — and took his interns to a sold-out Katy Perry concert in Washington last June.
The report is filled with this kind of stuff: Apparently, a number of Schock's donors are eager to fly him around on their private planes, while Schock himself is happy to charge his taxpayer-funded House account for more humdrum commercial travel. A conservative political action committee called the GOP Generation Y Fund also footed the bill for some of Schock's activities, including festivals, concerts, and a fundraising event at a massage parlor.
Schock is already facing an ethics inquiry following a report that he illegally solicited campaign contributions for another candidate. That investigation is ongoing. Schock's office has declared that it is currently reviewing his expenses and reimbursements.