In the past three election cycles, Schockâs campaign and PAC spent $85,622 on luxury hotels, about half of which were four- and five-star outfits, including the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, the famed Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., and the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Steven Shearer, Schockâs chief of staff and campaign manager, says the expenses are merely investments that pay good returns â in the 2010 election cycle that propelled Republicans to the House majority, Schock was a top-10 donor to the National Republican Campaign Committee and to the âYoung Gunsâ PAC, he notes.
To attract donations, Shearer says fundraising events have to stand out. âYou canât have the typical cocktail receptions at all the typical places in Washington that everyone has already done.â
CREW says the group first flagged Schockâs champagne tastes while scouring House membersâ financials for a report titled âFamily Affair.â In that analysis, they noted that Schock had used campaign funds for a fancy hotel stay in Greece (he later repaid the campaign) and for DVDs of the P90X fitness routine (billed under âhealthcare,â by the way).
Other purchases included:
â$5,522 on what the campaign called âoffice equipmentâ from Euro Trash, an Illinois-based antique-import and design business whose must-see Web site (dig the massive chandeliers and to-die-for European antiques) declares that âeveryone can and should live well.â Shearer, though, said the campaign purchased used office furniture, not antiques.
â$1,565 in âtravel expensesâ from â J Bondi Inc.â in Beverly Hills. Shearer says this was for concert tickets (that company, CREW says, appears to be a holding company owned by Elton John).
â$859 on âgiftsâ from Storks Snapshots ($407) and the Bare Belly Boutique ($452), upscale maternity boutiques in Illinois. Weâre still awaiting an explanation from Shearer on that one.
Campaign finance attorney Brett Kappel says Schockâs spending is a bit, well, schocking, particularly for such a junior legislator. âIt seems he has expensive tastes â or excessive ambition,â Kappel says.