* Check the last line in this story excerpt…
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.
The move by the embattled Illinois Republican comes amid continuing questions about his use of campaign and office accounts to pay for pricey travel and accommodations. His office has refused to respond to specific questions from POLITICO, including issues raised over the past week about a trip he took to London nearly four years ago as part of an annual event featuring Prince Charles.
Schock has hired William McGinley and Don McGahn of the Washington law firm Jones Day to lead his legal team. Veteran GOP communications operatives Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh are helping manage his response, according to sources close to the matter. […]
The trip, which included events organized by the nonprofit Prince of Wales Foundation, was not an official government trip and was not reported as a gift. 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.
The London trip was discovered as part of a cache of documents obtained by POLITICO detailing several years of Schock’s personal, political and governmental travel.
A “cache of documents obtained” is obviously a euphemism for “Oppo dump.” This sure looks to me like a generated piece, which wouldn’t be the first time Schock was hit with one of those lately.
* And if the AP really did come up with this idea and spent the time necessary to do the research all on its own, then good for the AP. But being on the receiving end of some pretty clever oppo over the years, and knowing the existence of a “cache” of travel-related oppo, I am a tiny bit skeptical that this was a purely original concept…
Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, 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, an unwelcome message for a congressman billed as a fresh face of the GOP. The AP identified at least one 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. The AP extracted location data associated with each image then correlated it with flight records showing airport stopovers and expenses later billed for air travel against Schock’s office and campaign records. […]
The AP found that Green’s plane traveled to at least eight cities last October in the Midwest and East Coast, cities where Schock met with political candidates ahead of the midterm elections. His Instagram account’s location data and information from the service FlightAware even pinpointed Schock’s location on a stretch of road near one airport before Green’s plane departed.
* And then right on cue comes the liberal-leaning CREW outfit…
Under scrutiny for lavish spending, Rep. Aaron Schock R-Ill. has been hit with a third ethics complaint on Wednesday from CREW — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — a watchdog group whose concerns often trigger further investigative inquiries.
The complaint comes a day after Schock asked his lawyers to conduct an internal audit of spending from his government and political accounts.
In a release, CREW said it “asked the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate whether Rep. Schock broke House rules in light of new evidence that the congressman improperly used taxpayer money and campaign funds to rent private, non-charter flights for travel.
* Bob Dylan seems appropriate here…
Someone’s got it in for me,
they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out
but when they will I can only guess
* I’m not trying to diminish the fix that Schock has gotten into here. I’m just marveling at how so much of this coverage seems to be directed from Democratic sources above. That recent DCCC mailer in Schock’s district shows it has a budget for this little project.
So is this just some DC-style harassment “fun,” or is it something more? It could be either one or even both, but it’s probably not too difficult to use your imagination to see the ultimate hit that could be coming here. The Democrats could very well be working up to something, or at least churning the waters until that something is finally pried loose and Schock is forced out or so badly damaged that the wildly successful fundraiser and GOP media star is rendered ineffective.
Or, maybe it’s just “good government.”
Yeah, right. DC is so all about the good government thing.
* Before closing, I should say that strict compliance with our comment code will be enforced on this post. Don’t get yourself banned for life. It ain’t worth it.