U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) has seen his fair share of media scrutiny in recent weeks, all starting with a report that he had redecorated his congressional office in the image of PBS's period drama Downton Abbey. Since then, he has come under criticism for possibly improper use of taxpayer funds on dinners, hotels, private jet flights and even concert tickets. The Better Government Association's Andy Shaw took a look at how Schock, a rising Republican star, fell out of favor. His ailment is not unique, says Shaw.
Chronic hubris, caused by excessive exposure to fawning aides and constituents; loose rules and lax oversight; a grandiose sense of entitlement, and unrealistic feelings of invincibility.
The Rx? Multiple investigations and a suddenly uncertain political future for one of the Republican Party's rising stars.
Sadly, the problem goes well beyond Schock's use of public and political funds for helicopter rides and private plane trips to football games, concerts and staff weekends; pricey meals and hotel rooms; and a D.C. office remodeled to resemble Downton Abbey.
He got caught, thanks to the dogged digging of Washington reporters, including the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet.
But legions of public officials bend the rules without being detected or held accountable because there aren't enough watchdogs shining a light on their alleged chicanery.
Check out what other examples of unencumbered political hubris Shaw and the Better Government Association have called out recently at Reboot Illinois.
Speaking of politicians and taxpayer money, Capitol Fax's Rich Miller wants Illinoisans to take a closer look at Gov. Bruce Rauner's plans for cutting childcare costs in the upcoming budget. Eliminating $108 million of spending, aimed at services that take place in a family home by a family member, looks like a good idea on the surface, but Miller wonders whether those cuts could end up costing the state more money in the long run.
(Check out how Miller makes that rhetorical leap at Reboot Illinois.)