Friday, March 13, 2015

Even More Schock And Flaw

GOP Rep. Aaron Schock's pattern of abusing the power of his office for monetary gain is rapidly becoming a real problem for him and the Republican Party.

Schock traveled to India on official business in August 2014, a trip during which he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Global Poverty Project, an advocacy organization that seeks to alleviate extreme poverty internationally, footed the bill, according to a spokesman for the group. 
But Schock's photographer and videographer, Jonathon Link, traveled with him on the trip, which was well-documented on Schock's Instagram account. The organization offered to pay for the costs of one staffer to accompany Schock as long as the staffer flew economy class, according to the spokesman. Another aide was originally going to come, but the organization noted they were looking for a photographer, and Schock suggested Link, with whom he has worked in the past, the spokesman said. The photos Link took were made available to both Schock and the Global Poverty Project. 
The problem is House rules allow a member to accept private money for a companion's travel expenses only if the companion is a staffer, spouse or child. Link was none of those; he didn't appear on Schock's official or campaign payroll until September 2014.

Furthermore, Schock never disclosed that Link accompanied him on the trip, according to a review of public records. Members are allowed to accept money from private sources for some travel as long as they disclose it, and they also are required by law to disclose in writing when someone accompanies them on a trip paid for by an outside organization. Members have to seek a waiver from the Ethics Committee to bring someone other than a staffer or family member. Otherwise, they must pay for the companion's trip out of pocket. 
Instead, a disclosure form filed by Schock after his return gives no indication that he was accompanied by Link. The Global Poverty Project paid $5,000 for travel, $525 for lodging, $300 for meals, $289 for travel insurance and $100 for ground transportation for Schock's travel. The trip took place August 24-29, with a round trip flight from Chicago to New Delhi and a visit to Mumbai, as well. 
The Global Poverty Project separately paid some $4,000 to fly Link from Dallas to New Delhi, and lodge and feed him, according to the group's spokesman.

At this point, Schock's starting to look like a sack of broken goods, and if the Dems can't put him down in 2016, they don't deserve to take the House back anytime soon.  We're not quite up to resignation status yet, but the campaign ads against him have written themselves.

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