We perish because we know not… #TLENews
Rep. Aaron Schock apparently appreciates a lovely office.
Schock has spent tens of thousands of dollars from his taxpayer-funded accounts on renovations, leather furniture and even granite countertops, according to congressional expenditure reports.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Illinois Republican has had his office lavishly redecorated in a bold red theme inspired by the television show Downton Abbey.
There is no telling how much Schock paid for the renovations of his Capitol Hill suite — the House takes a few months to publicly report current expenses — but in prior years, Schock appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on office renovations and furnishings from his taxpayer-funded account.
Schock’s spokesman did not return emails seeking comment or an explanation of the various expenditures, so it is not clear precisely what the expenditures were for.
In December 2009 he paid $7,400 to an Illinois design/build firm called KBL Design Center, and then another $21,000 to a hardwood floor company, a building contractor and company called Old World Granite and Marble that apparently makes high-end countertops. He then spent $6,600 on an Illinois painting contractor.
Two months later, Schock spent $79,061 on furniture purchases, including $5,123 from a company called Mulnix Industries that specializes in hardwood podiums.
Around the same time, Schock spent more than $4,000 with a fine-leather furniture company called Garrett Leather.
All of the expenditures came out of Schock’s taxpayer-funded office account, which lawmakers can use to buy office furniture and pay for renovations.The official handbook for members of Congress says “Ordinary and necessary expenses related to the acquisition of items for use in offices are reimbursable from the applicable office funds.”
Each member of Congress is given a set budget for operating their office each year, including hiring staff and all official travel; any furniture purchases and renovations come out of that budget. Money left over in the office budget at the end of the year can be returned to the treasury.
The Washington Post story quoted the designer of Schock’s Capitol Hill office as saying she provided her design services to Schock for free. That led the liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to file a complaint Tuesday with the House alleging that Schock may have received an improper gift.