Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois, a rising Republican star already facing an ethics inquiry, has spent taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors, the Associated Press has found. There also have been other expensive travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.
The expenses highlight the relationships that lawmakers sometimes have with donors who fund their political ambitions and are an unwelcome message for a congressman billed as a fresh face of the GOP. The AP identified at least a dozen flights worth more than $40,000 on donors’ planes since mid-2011.
The AP tracked Schock’s reliance on the aircraft partly through the congressman’s penchant for uploading pictures and videos of himself to his Instagram account.
Schock said in an e-mail Monday that he travels frequently throughout his Peoria-area district “to stay connected with my constituents” and also travels to raise money for his campaign committee.
He said he takes compliance with congressional funding rules seriously and has begun a review of his office’s procedures “concerning this issue and others to determine whether they can be improved.”
Donors who owned planes on which travel was paid for by Schock’s House and political accounts did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment Monday.
Schock has also faced questions recently about expenses for office decor inspired by the TV show “Downton Abbey,” and those come on top of allegations he illegally solicited donations in 2012.