Illinois Republican Representative Aaron Shock, he of the Downton Abbey office, announced his resignation from the House of Representatives after questions about his finances and high spending life style.
Schock’s spending came under scrutiny after a Washington Post report highlighted the Republican’s newly redecorated office, allegedly modeled after the popular British period drama “Downton Abbey.” The report noted that the office’s decorator, Annie Brahler, remodeled the office for free, sparking an ethics complaint against the congressman.
Schock ultimately repaid $40,000 for the redecoration, but the initial story set off a series of reports on the 33-year-old congressman’s lavish spending habits. Subsequent reports detailed a taxpayer funded weekend in New York for his staffers, a dozen charter flights worth over $40,000 on donors’ planes and $24,000 in campaign funds spent on concerts and events, including a sold-out Katy Perry concert.
Other reports raised questions over Schock’s relationships with donors. In February, a complaint was filed against Schock over the alleged sale of his home to a campaign donor for a significant profit. And earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune reported that multiple Schock donors were directly involved in a 2014 property deal in which the congressman paid one donor for a commercial property, and then took out out a mortgage for that property from a bank run by other donors.
When Rep. Shock was first elected in 2008, he was the youngest member of congress. He is currently the third youngest.
In another development, the ex-girlfriend and fund raiser for convicted felon former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY11), was sentenced to three months in jail. Diana Durand, 48, plead guilty last September to violating campaign finance law. Despite the recommendation of the prosecutors for no jail time, Federal Judge Sterling Johnson Jr disagreed.
Ms. Durand pleaded guilty in September to using straw donors to illegally contribute more than $10,000 to Grimm’s 2010 congressional campaign. Kaplan had asked for no prison time, noting that she’s the single mother of a 16-year-old son.
Prosecutors did not object to that request, but U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. had other plans Tuesday.
“This is a very perplexing case, as all sentences are,” he said, adding, “I think that a custodial sentence is necessary.”
Johnson gave no other explanation for the sentence — three months, followed by a year of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. Ms. Durand is slated to surrender to U.S. Marshals in Texas, where she lives, on May 1.
Ms. Durand was also accused of giving illegal funds to Rep. Shock. Nor does this bode well for Mr. Grimm who is to be sentenced June 10.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) has five days to notify the county clerk of the vacancy and the state must hold a special election for Rep. Snock’s empty seat within 115 days. The special election for the NY-11 vacancy is May 5.
Ah, the young ans the restless.