Monday, March 09, 2015

Illinois Congressman Took 10 Staffers With Him On Trip To New York, Billed Taxpayers

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., (on the left in the front row) walks next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center) at the Global Citizen Festival in New York in September. | Photo from Aaron Schock’s Instagram account
Rep. Schock at Global Citizen Festival with Prime Minister Modi
The negative news stories about U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's lavish travels at taxpayer expense keep piling up. It now turns out that the trip he took to New York last year to attend the Global Citizen Festival where he introduced Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi included ten of the 14 staff members the Republican lawmaker's congressional office employs in Washington and his district offices back in Illinois. The trip cost taxpayers more than $10,000 according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.

According to Sweet, three other Illinois congressman also attended the concert in New York, including Rep. Danny Davis (D), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R) and Rep. Dan Lapinski (D). Davis told Sweet he paid for his own travel expenses. Lipinski billed taxpayers $741.06 for air and taxi fare, while Hultgren billed taxpayers $849 for flight, food and hotel. Hultgren told Sweet he had to stay overnight in order to attend official meetings Monday morning with financial service companies. One staffer joined Hultgren for the meetings in New York and billed taxpayers $250.75 for train and taxi fare.

Schock stayed at the palatial Palace Hotel once owned by the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley. Sweet said, "I know this because, by coincidence, I was in New York also staying at the Palace the night of Sept. 27." She continued, "I talked to a Schock staffer about interviewing Schock, but the timing did not work out. My room at the Palace, with tax, cost $247. A tab at the same price for 11 — 10 staffers plus Schock — would be $2,750 a night." Sweet added, "The Schock Victory Committee – organized for FEC purposes as a “Joint Fundraising Committee” — shows payments for meals at New York restaurants: $554.15 at Bergdorf Goodman, which has a restaurant; $1,272.84 at Mercer Kitchen; and $816.45 at the Delta Grill.

It appears that Schock's ties to the Global Citizen Festival are based on the fact that the largest employer in his district, Caterpillar, was a major sponsor for the event. A spokesman for the nonprofit group credited Schock with getting Prime Minister Modi to attend the event. Caterpillar has significant investments in India. A vice president for the Caterpillar Foundation joined Schock on stage in New York when he introduced the prime minister according to Sweet. You have to wonder just how much of this kind of crap is going on all the time that's not reported by the news media.

The Indianapolis Star's coverage of the goings on of Indiana's congressional delegation is pretty much useless. We're treated primarily to superficial stories that could have been written by their press staffs. Last week, political columnist Matt Tully had a column describing Sen. Dan Coats as a "work horse." Today, Tom LoBianco has a story discussing whether Coats will run for re-election in 2016. A story about how millions of dollars have been funneled into his bank accounts by Washington special interests just like occurred with our former Sen. Evan Bayh would be preferable.

UPDATE: It just keeps getting worse. Now Politico is reporting that Schock's political action committee misreported part of the private airfare costs for that trip to a Chicago Bears game last year as a software purchase. The pilot of the private plane on which Schock flew owns a software company. The pilot tells Politico the campaign expenditure itemized as a $3.425 purchase of software from his company was actually a deposit for the chartered flight, which cost over $13,000. Schock previously reimbursed the government about $10,000 for the trip after he was questioning about billing taxpayers for his trip to a Bears football game.


Josh said...

My god, he's the perfect rino!
Young, handsome, and absolutely rino! He could outbush the Bushes! He could outrino Romney!

Eric Morris said...

Josh, I think he is the perfect, regular, normal, elected Republican. The rest of us are/were the Republicans in Name Only--that's why I left the party. It is not for small government or individual liberty in practice; those that believe in that, much less the ones who put it into practice like Ron Paul, Justin Amash, and Christine Scales, are the scoffed-at outliers. Something tells me Norm Coleman doesn't pay for commercials with buzzing drones telling me to support those people just named, but rather Susan Brooks, Todd Young, and probably Aaron Schock.

Anonymous said...

This clown has been living it up like there is no tomorrow, and I suspect there will be no tomorrow for his political career or as an elected official....a classic example of what Washington will do to someone....will it play in Peoria? Hell no!