Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock is in hot water over a recent ethics inquiry. According to Politico, the rising Republican star has allegedly misappropriated funds by using taxpayer dollars for personal recreational purposes. Since 2011, Schock has reportedly used taxpayer dollars for five-star hotel stays and other expenses unrelated to his office and campaign.
In addition to hotel stays, he’s also been accused of spending approximately $40,000 on private flights aboard luxury jets owned by wealthy supporters of his campaign. Financial reports also reveal one of his campaign accounts was used to purchase a luxury Chevrolet Tahoe for $74,000 and he’s received thousands of dollars in reimbursements for gas mileage. The total amount of his questionable expenses has yet to be determined.
But surprisingly, the calculations for his flight estimates were based on social media accounts and pictures he’s posted over the past couple years. The Associated Press actually conducted a comparative analysis based on Schock’s Instagram account.
The photos he posted via Instagram are quite incriminating because they reportedly justify the allegations. The destinations he tagged in the photos were compared to his tax filings for 2011 and 2012. The financial reports for his office and campaign travel expenses actually coincide with the photos he posted. Many of the private jets used for the flights are owned by wealthy key supporters of his campaign.
“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.”
However, many of the photos used for the analysis have since been deleted. Now, Schock’s Instagram account only houses pictures dating back to 2013, reports Washington Post. Although his reason for deleting the pictures is unclear, the questionable action has only raised more concerns.
But, that’s not all. Schock also spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on tickets to a Katy Perry concert for his interns, reports Mediaite. Once again, Instagram confirmed the allegations because one of the interns posted a picture with the “Roar” singer. Then, to make matters worse, the caption for the picture has also raised concerns.
“You can’t say no when your boss invites you. Danced my butt off.”
According to Yahoo! News, Schock has lawyered up. A spokesperson from Schock’s office recently released a statement in regards to the allegations. An internal investigation is also being conducted to further assess the expenses.
“After questions were first raised in the press, Congressman Schock took the proactive step of assembling a team to review the compliance procedures in his official office, campaign and leadership PAC,” a spokesman said. “The purpose of the review is to identify any areas that need improvement and to assist with designing and implementing any changes. The congressman takes his compliance obligations seriously, which is why he took this proactive step to review these procedures.”
[Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images]