Ethics Complaint Against GOP Congressman Filed For Free ‘Downton Abbey’ Office Remodel


A watchdog group has filed an ethic complaint against GOP Congressman Aaron Schock after photos of his newly remodeled office were posted to Twitter.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group focusing on Congress, has filed an ethics complaint against Republican Rep. Aaron Schock. The Illinois Congressman has been the butt of several jokes this week after a Washington Post reporter posted photos of Shock's newly-redecorated congressional office, which looks like it just stepped out of a Downton Abbey episode.

"Bright red walls. A gold-colored wall sconce with black candles. A Federal-style bull's-eye mirror with an eagle perched on top. And this is just the Illinois Republican's outer office," Washington Post's Ben Terris reported Monday.

CREW isn't upset that the decor isn't American-inspired, rather, that there's a House ethics rule forbidding the acceptance of free goods or services. Rep. Schock reportedly paid for the new digs himself (reportedly,) but the decorating services were free, CREW says.

The watchdog group "asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) violated House rules by accepting free interior decoration services and improperly using campaign funds to pay for furniture in his congressional offices," they say in a statement.

"The redesign featured lavish accoutrements, including a crystal chandelier, a gold wall sconce, and arrangements of pheasant feathers," CREW notes. "The redesign was provided by Anne Brahler, an interior decorator from Illinois, and her firm, Euro Trash. A member of Rep. Schock's staff told the Post Ms. Brahler 'offered her services for free.' Ms. Brahler also redesigned Rep. Schock's previous congressional office."

"Perhaps it's not totally surprising that the same congressman who spent campaign money on P90X workout DVDs wanted to create a more picturesque setting in which to be photographed, but the rules clearly require him to pay for those renovations himself," said Anne Weismann, CREW's Interim Executive Director.  "Again and again, Rep. Schock's seeming obsession with his image impedes his ability to conduct himself in ethical manner."

The Washington Post notes that "Schock has claimed he's never seen 'Downton Abbey' - the British soap opera that, as the Guardian points out, runs on public television. (Republicans aren't big fans of government-subsidized TV.)"

Here are photos posted to Twitter by the Post's Ben Terris:

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