Aaron Schock Resigns From Congress Amidst Spending Controversy: How Downton Abbey Is Involved

Aaron Schock
Rep. Aaron Schock resigned from Congress on Tuesday, Mar. 17 in a surprise announcement after an investigation was opened about his spending habits -- find out how Downton Abbey was involved. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

The scandal and Schock! Congressman Aaron Schock announced his resignation from Congress on Tuesday, Mar. 17, in the wake of a controversy involving his misuse of expenses.

An investigation involving the 33-year-old Republican lawmaker was opened by the Office of Congressional Ethics last month, after POLITICO and other newspapers questioned whether his spending aligned with what his office had recorded.

The Washington Post revealed last month that Schock had spent $40,000 from his official budget — which is funded by taxpayers — to renovate his Capitol Hill office in the style of Downton Abbey. While his staff claimed that the interior designer had revamped the office for free, the charismatic politician was forced to repay taxpayers $35,000 for that specific project. Schock also gave the designer $5,000 for the work completed.

The office, though, was among his mounting problems. Schock has also been accused of outrageous spending habits, especially when it came to travel. He was forced to reimburse taxpayers after tapping into his office account to charter a private plane to Chicago — just so that he could watch the Bears play.

On Monday, Mar. 16, POLITICO questioned the tens of thousands of dollars he's received in mileage reimbursements, along with his failure in effectively reporting his business trips. Schock told the site last week that he was unclear whether he broke the law. "I certainly hope not,” he told POLITICO.

In his surprise statement on Tuesday, Schock said he was resigning due to the hullabaloo. "The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction," he told POLITICO. "[It] 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."

Speaker of the House John Boehner also acknowledged his resignation to USA Today on Tuesday, saying: "With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first. I appreciate Aaron's years of service, and I wish him well in the future."

Schock's resignation will kick in on Mar. 31.

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