US lawmaker quits over spending tax money; is India watching?

One of the youngest congressman Aron Schock has quit over financial misdeeds

GN Bureau | March 18, 2015


#us   #congressman   #public money   #tax payer   #MPs  

A lawmaker in the US has resigned after revelations that he was spending tax payers money on redecorating his office and also undertaking tours. However, these kinds of resignations rarely happen in the world’s largest democracy – India.

Aaron Schock, 33, is the third-youngest member of the current Congress, has been forced to resign. Schock’s apparent irregularities in reporting his travel and expenses had made him a target for the media and critics.

Last month, The Washington Post had reported about the expansive office redesign modeled after the British TV show. The interior designer offered the services for free, and that prompted liberal watchdog groups to allege that it was an inappropriate gift. Schock paid  $40,000 from his personal finances to cover the cost. Later it was revealed that he had uses private charter planes, concert ticket purchases, trips overseas and other forms of travel.

When a member of Congress moves into an office, the bare essentials are provided by the House of Representatives. Furniture and computers come from other offices. New members are entitled to a new paint in a limited number of colors. Additional decorations must come out of the lawmaker’s pocket. The office of Schock was themed like a room from hit tv serial Downtown Abbey. It had decorations like Pheasant feathers and a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

He was expected to be examined by the Office of Congressional Ethics but Schock sought to stop it by resigning and one politician said “I think that what he realized is that he did not want to drag his staff and friends and supporters through an investigation where they’d have to hire lawyers and might get subpoenaed.”

While he has yet to comment about his resignation on social media, Schock has been very busy documenting his travels around the world on official and unofficial business.

Examine the similar instance in Indian context. It was disclosed last year that the government ws spending about Rs 8 lakh a day on providing five-star accommodation to 92 parliamentarians in New Delhi. The list provided by the Lok Sabha secretariat in response to an RTI query includes minister of state and singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo, who has been staying at Hotel Ashok for the past seven months. All these MPs have already been allotted a government house.

A book on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) throws light on some worrying trends in the implementation of this scheme. This includes gross violation of the guidelines of the scheme by many members; MPs investing these funds in private trusts and societies created by them; recommending projects that are prohibited; insisting on choosing the implementing agencies and handing over the cheques and constantly resisting transparency and accountability, says the book by A Suryaprakash.

Comments

 

Other News

BJP lawmakers top the list in hate speech cases

Out of all MPs and MLAs in office, 58 have declared cases related to hate speech. This includes union minister for drinking water and sanitation Uma Bharti along with 14 other Lok Sabha MPs. The list also includes 8 state ministers. A party wise analysis reveals that BJP has the highest numb

After its withdrawal from Meghalaya and Arunachal, is it time to review AFSPA in other areas too?

After its withdrawal from Meghalaya and Arunachal, is it time to review AFSPA in other areas too?

Togadia, Sinha and anti-Modi prejudices masked by empty rhetoric

There is an uncanny similarity in the pathological opposition to prime minister Narendra Modi by two members of the right wing, Pravin Togadia and Yashwant Sinha. They come from a diverse social and political background; yet they share a common strand that shows an unmitigated hatred towards

“We are becoming American digital colonies”

Data is the new oil; and it needs to be protected. In an interaction with Governance Now, Lionel Baraban, CEO of Famoco, talks about how the French tech firm is developing secure business devices to safeguard data against going to other countries. What are the major roles o

Goa Shipyard and MTU, Germany to manufacture MTU engines in India

Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and MTU, Germany have agreed to cooperate in the  local manufacturing of technologically-advanced MTU series 8000 engines in India. Under the agreement, which was signed at India’s leading defence trade show Defexpo-18, the companies will manufacture the 16-

ONGC employees bag 13 medals at the Gold Coast CWG

ONGC sportspersons outshone other participants in their respective categories in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. ONGCians bagged 13 medals including 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze, contributing to the 66 medal tally of Team India. ONGCians Ragala Venkat Rah

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter