Since news broke that Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has an ornately-decorated congressional office styled after a room from Downton Abbey, there’s been an increased focus on the Illinois congressman’s spending. Schock, according to Politico and USA Today, charters private planes, stays in some of the most expensive hotels around the world, and uses a personal photographer. Here are a few of Schock’s more lavish indulgences.
Schock hired former Dallas-Fort Worth wedding videographer Jonathon Link as his personal photographer. Schock’s campaign and taxpayers foot the bill for that expense, according to Politico. Schock’s aides said that the photographer’s expenses are safely within the limits of money raised by his political operation.
Schock’s campaign bought a $74,000 Chevrolet Tahoe to drive him around Illinois. That’s in addition to the $27,000 Ford he already owned. Schock told Politico that the cars are generally used more by his campaign than himself for “such activities as distributing campaign yard signs, driving folks to parades, helping transport larger signs, etc.”
During recent trips, Schock has stayed in some of the poshest hotels available, including five-star resorts near ski slopes in Aspen, and the Four Seasons in Vail and San Francisco. He spent more than $5,000 at the Wynn hotel during one trip to Las Vegas. Schock’s office said those hotels are “campaign-related expenses.”
In 2013, Schock and an aide travelled to India. He flew business class and stayed in the Taj Hotel, according to Politico’s analysis of campaign filings. That trip cost $10,000 and was funded by the National Indian American Public Policy Corp.
In September 2010, Schock remarked that, although he had flown on Air Force One in 2009, he preferred to fly commercial. It’s an ironic statement, as in the 18 months leading up to that presidential flight, Schock had spent $18,000 in taxpayer money on private planes. He has also spent more than $90,000 in campaign funds on private air charters.
USA Today reported that in 2013, Schock spent more than $102,000 on travel via his his congressional office account. Only 11 House members spent greater amounts on travel.
In addition to the lavish Downton Abbey-esque decor that first put his spending on the forefront, Schock has spent another $100,000 dollars on office furnishings, the USA Today noted.