It’s taken nearly seven months, but Wednesday was the day that members of Congress finally began washing their hands of Aaron Schock.
On Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Administration approved sweeping new rules, governing how much members of congress can spend to decorate their offices, how and when they can charter airplanes, and exactly which of their cars are eligible for mileage reimbursement. And all of those rules were prompted by the alleged abuses which drove Schock from office last March.
“There were some recent questions about a particular member’s use of official resources,” committee chairman Candice Miller of Michigan cryptically told colleagues in an opening statement. “We work to insure that tax dollars are spent in the most efficient way.”
Even Schock’s former Republican colleague, Rodney Davis of downstate Taylorville said the reforms were sorely needed.
“As members of congress, it’s our duty to be good stewards with the tax dollars we are entrusted with,” he said. “We hold ourselves to the highest standard.”
While Schock has not been a congressman since he said goodbye amid swirling ethics questions last March, federal campaign records show he has continued to spend money.
Schock’s report for the third quarter of 2015 shows that he began the reporting period with over $2 million dollars in his campaign war chest. But that number has now dropped to just over $1.1 million.
The federal report indicates Schock has continued to pay one remaining assistant, $15,829.67 during the reporting period. He spent $2286.72 on phone bills, $1409.62 on office rent, and $4522.02 to a company called Professional Data Services.
The former high-flying congressman even had a $1200 bill at Washington’s Capella Hotel, with a $341 tab at Fiola restaurant.
But by far, Schock’s biggest expenditures have been for lawyers. His campaign report shows that in July, August, and September, he rolled up $901,337.92 in legal fees. And while he still listed a campaign balance of $1,177,641, he also indicated that he has one big outstanding debt: $746,985.45 to the Washington law firm Jones Day.
Schock is the apparent target of a grand jury probe in Springfield, which is believed to be focusing on campaign and office spending, but he has not been charged with any crime.