Facing scandals, Illinois GOP congressman resigns

Aaron Schock, two members of congress find way to fight partisan gridlock - Sophie Kleeman - 09/18/2013
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is interviewed by Roll Call in his Longworth office.
The new Congress started a little over two months ago. As of this afternoon, this Congress already features two House Republicans resigning. The first was Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who resigned in January, and the second is Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) who announced his departure today.

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock resigned Tuesday, less than 12 hours after POLITICO raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements he received for his personal vehicle. Schock billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car between January 2010 and July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had only roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer, according to public records obtained by POLITICO under Illinois open records laws. The documents, in other words, indicate he was reimbursed for 90,000 miles more than his car was ever driven.

It's hard to know whether this one controversy pushed the Illinois Republican over the edge. It's just as likely Schock suffered from a cumulative effect -- the congressman's troubles began in earnest six weeks ago with the story about his office's "Downton Abbey" décor, but it's been followed by a series of related controversies involving Schock using funds inappropriately.
The GOP lawmaker's resignation letter says his departure is effective March 31. Schock does not acknowledge wrongdoing, but he said "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 is one of Congress' youngest members and he's been a very public face for his party -- at times even becoming a literal cover model -- hoping to present Republicans in a more youthful light. His career, however, now appears to be over.
Schock represents a Peoria-area district, which is likely to remain in Republican hands. It'll fall to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) to schedule a special election in the coming months.