Friday, February 27, 2015
High-Flying Illinois Congressman's Days Numbered
This Aaron Schock character from Peoria, Illinois has demonstrated to me the corrupting influence of our nation's capital embracing the Kardashian Culture. The attractive and buff 33-year old congressman had become the darling of the Washington media, which found any excuse to show us pictures of the well-dressed politician who seems to have always been more about form over substance, including shirtless pictures to show us just how buff and beautiful he is. After building up the show horse into mega celebrity status, the powers that be have now decided to throw him under the bus. It began with a report about him lavishly decorating his Capitol Hill office inspired by the "Downton Abbey" British television series, which led to an ethics complaint being filed against him.
That was followed by an Associated Press report questioning hundreds of thousands of dollars on questionable expenses he made using his congressional budget and campaign account for travel and entertainment charges. The AP pieced together Schock's travel itinerary by tracking the frequent Instagram photos he uploaded to the Internet to keep his fans and followers up to do date on his globetrotting. There was a lot of flights on private planes of corporate donors, concert tickets for him and his staff to a Katy Perry concert and even a large tab at a massage parlor. Whoa!
Today, Politico reports that Schock, who is single, took one of his male congressional staffers rumored to be more than that along with him on a trip to London in 2011 that included stops at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and a swank nightclub but failed to report any gifts on his financial disclosure form. Schock supposedly made the trip as the guest of a friend who was invited by the Prince of Wales Foundation to attend several elaborate dinners in London, including dinner with Prince Charles and Camilla. Guests received customized china as a gift at the end of the affair. Congressmen supposedly aren't allowed to accept gifts valued at more than $50, including food and beverage. The Prince of Wales Foundation head declined to say who invited Schock to come along to the ritzy affair as a guest. Last September, he hosted a fundraiser at a private golf course in Maryland owned by a wealthy political supporter but never reported any expenses for hosting the fundraiser. The fundraiser raised $125,000. The owner of the golf course is William Stone, who owns SS&C, a computer software company. Stone contributed $50,000 to Schock's PAC shortly after the fundraiser.
Schock has reportedly hired two high-profile attorneys in Washington to conduct an internal investigation of his office expenditures and campaign expenditures, as well as defend him in a potential ethics investigation. So how is it playing in Peoria where Schock has been very popular? If the local newspaper is any indication, not good. The stories have been front-page fodder as of late. A story in today's Peoria Journal-Star talks about him being mentioned on the Daily Show but not in a good way. I have a feeling this guy isn't going to survive his two-year term to which he just go re-elected last fall. The best defense Schrock can muster up, "Haters are going to hate." Yeah, gotcha.
UPDATE: More bad news for Schock. The AP reports Schock reimbursed the government $40,000 for re-decorating costs for his Capitol Hill office. Actually, his interior designer, Annie Brahler of EuroTrash, reimbursed the government for fees she had already been paid as of December 31, 2014, and Schock repaid her out of his persona account. Schock's office originally told reporters the designer had donated the services for free.