Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock has resigned after a rather bizarre few weeks. He caused something of a national sensation when his office was decked out like a study at Downton Abbey. He was then accused of spending like of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. Schock resigned effective March 31 after weeks of controversy over his lavish spending from government and campaign accounts. It is a cautionary tale for other members. You might want to stick with those government issued desks and pictures of the Washington Monument at the office.
Schock drew attention for his office remake to look like the set of Downton Abbey. The more serious issue however were allegations of personal expenses and questionable reimbursements made on congressional and campaign accounts.
Schock has faced mounting accusations of using taxpayer dollars for personal expenses and claiming questionable reimbursements. This included thousands of dollars in private air charters with donor-owned planes.
It is not clear to me how serious some of these allegations were from the limited news accounts. The dealings with donors are not necessarily violations under federal law or congressional rules unless they were quid pro quo arrangements or used to convert public funds into campaign contributions. There is no indication of a federal criminal investigation.
Schock issued the following 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. … 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.”
This would appear the end of Schock’s political ambitions which is a remarkable turn around for a once promising Republican member. Yet, as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, advised “Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.”