WASHINGTON — Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., did not volunteer the whole story Monday when he defended bringing 10 House staffers to New York, asserting that they were attending an “official” event. The Sun-Times has learned that Schock’s political director also was part of the group.
The Sun-Times reported Monday that 10 Schock staffers went to New York last September on a $10,053 taxpayer-funded trip where most of them had few official duties during a weekend stay at the Palace Hotel.
It turns out there is at least one more.
Federal Election Commission reports show a November payment of $1,005 from Schock’s GOP Generation Y political action committee to the Palace Hotel. A Schock spokesman confirmed that check covered expenses for Schock political director Karen Haney’s weekend in New York.
Schock was in New York for events on Sept. 27 and 28 connected to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. Not at issue is whether Schock personally conducted official business. At issue is what official government business Schock staffers handled while in New York and why Schock needed so many of them.
On that Saturday, Schock and his staff attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, where Carrie Underwood, Jay-Z, The Roots and No Doubt performed and where Schock and Modi were among the speakers. On Sunday, Schock was at Madison Square Garden to hear Modi speak.
In Chicago and Bloomington on Monday, Schock defended the taxpayer spending, calling the festival in Central Park a “summit.”
“I would simply say that was an official trip, an event where 12 world leaders spoke on stage. I was a part of introducing the leader of the largest democracy, the prime minister of India,” Schock said. “I’m glad that my staff was able to go and be part of the historic event.
A Schock spokesman also commented for the first time Wednesday about Schock using a political fund to buy about 20 VIP tickets to the concert and why he paid restaurant bills in New York for his staffers, stating in Federal Election Commission reports that the costs were related to his political fundraising.
“There is an ongoing review on compliance procedures, and we will not be able to comment until it is finished,” the spokesman said.