Well, one thing you can’t say about Rep. Aaron Schock (R.-Heterosexuality or bust) is that he has proletarian tastes. We already knew about the Downton Abbey-inspired office and the $74,000 Chevy Tahoe. Now we’re learning that the vermillion office was the least of it.
Investigations by the Associated Press and Politico have revealed that Schock has been living what might under other circumstances be called an A-gay lifestyle, replete with fancy cars, surfing, Saville Row shopping, and, of course, those private jet trips. And he didn’t even have to earn the money to afford it all.
Here’s a tour through the wonderland that Schock has been inhabiting — at the expense of taxpayers and courtesy of fat-cat donors.
Who was it who said politics should be about public service?
The private jets
According to AP, Schock took at least a dozen flights over the past five years on private planes supplied by donors costing at least $40,000. The problem for Schock is that he paid for the flights with office funds, and Congressional rules have disallowed using that money since 2013 to pay for private flights. For example, in 2013, Schock’s office paid more than $11,000 for commercial transportation. Yet, using Schock’s own Instagram account for evidence, AP strongly suggests that Schock was using a private jet at the time.
A political action committee associated with Schock forked over more than $24,000 for concert tickets, including a Katy Perry concert, where he likely would have gotten down to “I Kissed A Girl,” while surrounded by screaming teenage girls and, well, the gay men whose equal rights he opposes. Schock was good enough to share the largesse with his staff. “You can’t say no when your boss invites you. Danced my butt off,” one former intern wrote on her Instagram account about the Katy Perry concert. (We know what you’re thinking with a comment like that, but the intern was a woman.)
The stay at Claridge’s
If you’re going to go to London, you might as well stay in Mayfair at the highest-end hotel possible. Schock did. On a 2011 trip to London, the fiscal conservative slept at Claridge’s, a byword for luxurious accommodations. Rooms there start at $500 a night. The London trip, which Schock did not report as a gift, was paid for by a private foundation.
The shopping trips
We already know about Schock’s affection for the closet — to hang fashionable clothes, of course. While in London, he apparently made a trip to Moss Bros., which bills itself as “the UK’s most iconic brand for men’s clothing.” The perfect place to pick up some Downton Abbey dress-me-up togs.
The love of Saudi antiquities
The antiquities and tourism commission of Saudi Arabia was kind enough to sport for Schock and two other members of Congress to check out the national treasures of the country. The two other members of Congress disclosed the trip on their annual financial disclosure forms. Schock did not. What are the odds he challenged his hosts on their unconscionable treatment of gay men while enjoying their largesse?
Soaking up the atmosphere in South America
Not long after visiting Saudi Arabia, Schock took another jaunt, this time to Colombia. Paid by someone else, of course–in this case, an official visit to work on a free-trade agreement. Which means that, for once, Schock isn’t in trouble for not reporting a trip.
Of course, living such a fabulous life has it’s downsides. For one thing, it requires lawyers. Lots of them. Schock is feeling the legal heat right now, and he’s hiring attorneys to cool things down. His office is conducting an internal audit, just to be on the safe side, you know. All we can say is that we hope Schock enjoys his Downton digs while he can.
He may not be there much longer.