We hate to say it, but Representative Aaron Schock might be regretting his decision to decorate his office in the style of Downton Abbey. A Washington Post report on Schock’s period-drama-inspired workspace has renewed the media’s interest in the 33-year-old Republican, who was last in the news when a blind item led to him almost being outed as gay in the New York Times. (The congressman, who does not support same-sex marriage, has said that he is straight.) The Post story led to ethics complaints about the free services Schock accepted from his decorator (he since said that he will pay her), and he was forced to fire an adviser after ThinkProgress discovered that he’d made racist comments on Facebook. And on Monday, Politico took a look at lavish spending, which, according to the site, has “always a subject of internal GOP chatter.” It turns out that his Lady Rose–esque tastes don’t stop when he leaves his office.
According to campaign filings, Schock — a prolific fund-raiser for himself and his fellow Republicans — tends to stay in five-star hotels when he travels, and has spent $90,000 chartering private planes. (You can find photos of his many domestic and international jaunts on his Instagram.) “Schock’s campaign has also purchased a $74,000 Chevrolet Tahoe to help get him around back home in Illinois, in addition to a $27,000 Ford,” Politico reports. Plus:
On Jan. 31, 2014, Schock cut a check to the NFL for more than $10,000 to cover the cost of Super Bowl tickets. In April 2013, Schock spent $3,320 on tickets to the CMA Country Music Awards. Instead of holding fundraisers at golf courses — as dozens of other Republicans do — Schock insiders say he prefers sporting and music events.And to keep track of this burgeoning political operation, Schock has spent more than $200,000 on lawyers since 2011, including $91,369 in the last two years. He has come under the scrutiny of the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegedly soliciting a contribution for a super PAC above the legal limits. Schock has denied any wrongdoing.
And: “To keep track of all his comings and goings, Schock has hired a personal photographer. Jonathon Link, a former Dallas-area wedding photographer, now snaps shots for Schock, and both his campaign and taxpayers pick up the bill.”
Schock’s aides defended his spending (which, it’s worth noting, is legal) by saying that the congressman “must spend resources as well and incur overhead costs” in order to drum up the big fund-raising dollars. As for the full-time photographer? “What is spent on photographers is inline with what is raised as a result.” After all, nothing gets GOP donors to reach into their pockets like the sight of a legislator hanging out with Ariana Grande.