'Downton Abbey' Congressman Resigns

Aaron Schock's move follows reports of lavish spending, shady campaign financing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2015 3:21 PM CDT
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. speaks to reporters in Peoria Ill, last month.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

(Newser) – Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois, dogged by irregularities in his campaign finance and congressional spending accounts, announced today that he would resign his House seat at the end of the month. "I do this with a heavy heart," Schock said in a statement. He said he had given the people of his Peoria-area district his all since his election in 2008, "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."

Schock has come under heavy scrutiny following revelations of lavish spending (including an office renovation done in the style of Downton Abbey) payments to donors for flights on private jets, and improperly categorized expenses. Yesterday, the AP confirmed that the Office of Congressional Ethics had reached out to Schock's associates as it apparently began an investigation. The office is an outside panel that reviews ethics complaints against House members and makes recommendations to the House Ethics Committee. "With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first," said John Boehner. "I appreciate Aaron's years of service, and I wish him well in the future."

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