Wednesday, 18 March 2015 00:00

Aaron Schock Resigning From Congress Amid Spending Controversy

Written by  Mollie Reilly | Huff Post

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) will resign from Congress amid a controversy over his spending habits, Politico reported Tuesday.

In a statement to Politico, the congressman said he will resign effective March 31.

"I do this with a heavy heart," reads the statement. "Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington."


Schock continued: "But 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. I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve."

Schock's spending came under scrutiny after a Washington Post report highlighted the Republican's newly redecorated office, allegedly modeled after the popular British period drama "Downton Abbey." The report noted that the office's decorator, Annie Brahler, remodeled the office for free, sparking an ethics complaint against the congressman.

Schock ultimately repaid $40,000 for the redecoration, but the initial story set off a series of reports on the 33-year-old congressman's lavish spending habits. Subsequent reports detailed a taxpayer funded weekend in New York for his staffers, a dozen charter flights worth over $40,000 on donors' planes and $24,000 in campaign funds spent on concerts and events, including a sold-out Katy Perry concert.

Other reports raised questions over Schock's relationships with donors. In February, a complaint was filed against Schock over the alleged sale of his home to a campaign donor for a significant profit. And earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune reported that multiple Schock donors were directly involved in a 2014 property deal in which the congressman paid one donor for a commercial property, and then took out out a mortgage for that property from a bank run by other donors.

Schock was first elected to office in 2008, becoming the youngest member of the House of Representatives. (Currently, he is the third youngest member serving.) Prior to his stint in Congress, Schock served in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Under Illinois election law, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) must issue a writ of election to county clerks within five days of the office vacancy. From that point, the state must hold a special election for the empty seat within 115 days.

"This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District," Rauner said in astatement.

This is a developing story and has been updated.


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