Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is in hot water again, as USA Today reports that he used private aircraft instead of commercial flights while paying with taxpayer money and campaign funds.
House rules and federal law frown on using private aircraft when acting in an official capacity. Although there are rare exemptions if a waiver is presented to the Ethics Committee, emails from the committee were ignored by Schock and his representatives.
According to USA Today, Schock’s office tops the list of Illionois representatives for travel expenses and only trails one dozen members of the entire House. In addition, Schock’s recent redecoration costs of his Washington office have come into question.
Schock’s flight expenses include $8,000 from his taxpayer-funded account with Lobair LLC, a private service, while his PAC, the GOP Generation Y Fund, gave $5,800 to Lobair since 2011. Schock has also used a helicopter owned by Jeff Green of Green Chevrolet. Schock’s House spending records and campaign accounts eschew any mention of the helicopter. Other helicopter flights Schock has taken have been reported as well.
The House ethics manual states that using “personal, official or campaign funds for a flight on a non-commercial aircraft is generally prohibited.” Where Schock has some leeway is the provision stating that members of Congress can use private flights for personal use if the aircraft’s owner is a personal friend.
House members must pay for private flights themselves, but Schock’s public spending records show no evidence Schock did so.