Rep With Downton Office Likes Lavish Travel, Too

Schock billed taxpayers for private plane flights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2015 1:27 AM CST
US Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., speaks in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner during a campaign rally outside the State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., last fall.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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(Newser) – Rep. Aaron Schock has been billing the taxpayer for a lot more than his lavish, Downton Abbey-inspired office, an AP investigation into a man it terms "a rising Republican star" finds. Over the last few years, the Illinois lawmaker has spent at least $40,000 in taxpayer and campaign cash on flights on private planes that are owned by some of his donors, the AP discovered by comparing the Republican's expense records to location data gleaned from his frequently updated Instagram account. Expenses billed to a political action committee associated with Schock, meanwhile, include a payment to a massage parlor and tickets for a sold-out Katy Perry concert he took his interns to last year, which is listed in PAC records as a "PAC fundraising event."

The House ethics manual says "personal, official, or campaign funds for a flight on a non-commercial aircraft is generally prohibited," although Schock may be able to claim loopholes for at least some of the flights, reports USA Today, which notes that the lawmaker has one of the highest travel tabs in the House. The rules on lawmakers using office funds for flights on private aircraft were loosened in 2013, but most of the flights in question took place before then, according to the AP. Schock says he's reviewing his office's procedures "concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved." More details from the AP's investigation here.

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