Embattled U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., resigned from Congress Tuesday following controversy surrounding his over-the-top spending habits and alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars, according to Politico. Schock, 33, is expected to step down at the end of the month.
"I do this with a heavy heart," the fourth-term congressman said in a statement. “The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself.”
Schock added: “I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents, and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”
The scandal surrounding Schock’s spending began to unfold in February and included reports that he spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for hotel stays and dinners that he didn’t disclose in his financial forms. The young congressman is very active on social media and frequently posts photos to Instagram of his world travels. Here are five things that led to Schock’s resignation.
1. Office remodeling. Schock spent more than $40,000 to have his Capitol Hill office remodeled in the style of the British TV period drama “Downton Abbey.” In prior years, Schock spent more than $100,000 of taxpayer funds to renovate his office, including thousands of dollars on leather furniture, marble countertops and hardwood floors.
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2. Private flights. Schock reportedly billed the government for two separate plane rides – one to Chicago in November to see a Bears-Vikings football game, and the other to New York in September – that together cost upwards of $20,000.
3. Photographer in India. In August, Schock had photographer Jonathon Link accompany him during a trip to India, and the bill was paid for by an international anti-poverty group. Congress members are allowed to accept private money to pay for a companion’s travel expenses, but the rule applies only to spouses, children and official staff. Link was none of those. Schock failed to disclose the $4,000 the Global Poverty Project put forward for Link’s travel expenses.
4. Unreported gifts. In 2011, Schock was treated to dinner and drinks at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and a London nightclub, gifts he never disclosed. House rules allow members to accept gifts not exceeding $50 from a single source.
5. Car mileage. Between January 2010 and July 2014, Schock was reimbursed for logging about 170,000 miles on his personal car – 90,000 miles more than what the odometer read when he later sold the vehicle.