Wednesday, February 25, 2015

IL Rep. Schock hires lawyers, PR firm; won't say who paid for luxe London trip while he skipped Congress

Politico is covering the gathering storm over not-gay Peoria, IL GOP Rep. Aaron Schock's unusual travel expenses, suspiciously high sale of his home to a GOP booster / Caterpillar executive and receipt of free decorating services to turn his office into a cheap replica of Downton Abbey's Red Room, though Schock denies ever seeing an episode of the hit show aired by PBS.
     Rep. Aaron Schock has hired two prominent Washington defense attorneys and a public relations firm to respond to the swirling controversy and a potential ethics probe over how he has financed his lavish lifestyle.
     ...POLITICO has repeatedly sought information regarding Schock’s trip in June 2011 to London. He stayed at Claridge’s, a five-star hotel where the least expensive rooms currently cost $500 per night. He also was scheduled to visit the city’s posh clothing stores and dined at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, according to the documents.      ... Schock’s office would not say whether he paid for it. If he personally covered the cost of the trip, Schock would not be required to disclose it.
     ...House rules require the Ethics Committee to sign off on any trip paid for by a private source, including charities such as the Prince of Wales Foundation, or a donor. The Prince of Wales Foundation has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
.     ..Schock has attended the Royal Ascot, a world-famous steeplechase, followed by drinks with then-U.S. Ambassador to England Louis Susman and his wife. He also was slated to visit Moss Bros. on Regent Street, one of the most famous men’s clothing stores in Europe, according to his schedule.      Schock also participated in a Patron Dinner at the posh members-only club Annabel’s and was invited to formal dinners at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
     Schock missed two days of votes during the trip. is also taking note of Schock's escapades. There, Michael Winship ripped Schock apart over the Downton Abbey Red Room makeover of his office:
     You’ve heard about how his interior decorator pal, proprietor of a company called Euro Trash, redecorated Schock’s new Capitol Hill office in high “Downton Abbey” style – which is more than somewhat ironic because, as Josh Israel at ThinkProgress pointed out, “Schock has repeatedly voted against federal funding for public broadcasting, voting to defund National Public Radio and for a Paul Ryan budget that zeroed out all funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” But even more important, Schock’s expensive tastes and how he spends money to make money for his party tells a sad story of the state of Congress and campaign fundraising.
     ...In truth, Schock’s office looks more like a cut-rate version of the infamous Red Room in 50 Shades of Grey than the height of inherited, entitled elegance.
     ...Come to think of it, Schock’ new office decor puts us more in mind of a bordello, if it was decorated by Pee Wee Herman. Which might be the more apt metaphor for Congress these days. Although the transfer of cash isn’t supposed to take place on the premises, members are doing very well with their outcall services, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. As Ken Silverstein recently wrote at The Intercept, we now have “a political consensus that churns out business-friendly policies no matter which party is in power…

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