A Republican favorite, Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, was forced to pay back $40,000 from his personal checking account after he faced a storm of criticism for using taxpayer money to decorate his office like the t.v. show Downton Abbey.
Questions about his office originally arose earlier this month when Washington Post reporter Ben Terris toured the Congressman’s office and took photos. Terris said Schock’s communications director, Benjamin Cole, freaked out about it.
Are you taking pictures of the office? Cole asked. Who told you you could do that? . . . Okay, stay where you are. You’ve created a bit of a crisis in the office………You’ve got a member [of Congress] willing to talk to you about other things. Why sour it by rushing to write some gossipy piece? [Source]
The Post reporter was not persuaded to kill the story and he ran it. After it appeared in the paper, a watchdog group picked it up and asked for a House ethics review of Schock’s spending. When Schock was asked out it by ABC News, he said,”Haters gonna hate.”
Jon Stewart heard about his response and made an incredibly funny mashup of Schock’s Instagram photos in the video below.
When news broke about the totally ethical GOP rising star using our money to decorate his office, the Associated Press decided to look into his other activities.
An AP review this week identified at least a dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on contributors’ planes since mid-2011, tracking Schock’s reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman’s pictures uploaded to his Instagram account. The AP extracted hidden location data associated with each image; it then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock’s office and campaign records. [Source]
He was totally busted! They also found out that he spent thousands of dollars on car mileage reimbursements and concert tickets, including a Katy Perry concert last year. All of this money came from an office funds account.
Must be nice! I’d love to go see Katy Perry!
Let’s be clear, he only paid back the $40,000 because he knew that he had to. He was in the midst of a PR nightmare and wants it to go away. The statement his office put out made that very, very clear:
Congressman Schock has fulfilled his commitment to pay for all the renovation costs.
Well isn’t he sweet?!
Featured image via Instagram