Disgraced Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) drew a parallel between the ethics inquiries that led to his resignation and former President Abraham Lincoln’s career Thursday in a farewell speech.
Schock, a fourth-term congressman and a rising star in the Republican Party, announced last week that he would resign effective March 31. News outlets had raised questions about Schock’s potential misuse of taxpayer and campaign funds, leading the FBI and a grand jury to investigate whether he broke any laws.
While he didn’t bring up those pitfalls in his speech on the House floor, he did invoke Lincoln’s “defeats.”
“Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term. But few faced as many defeats in his personal business and public life as he did,” Schock said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life.”
“I believe that through life’s struggles, we learn from our mistakes and we learn more about ourselves,” he added. “And I know that this is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter.”
It’s unclear exactly what “defeats” of Lincoln’s Schock was referring to, but Slate pointed out last week that both were accused of the same transgression: billing taxpayers for excess mileage.
Schock announced his resignation hours after Politico inquired about the congressman being reimbursed by the federal government and his own campaign for 90,000 miles more than he actually drove on his personal car. A ProPublica story earlier that same day explained how a journalist once accused Lincoln of receiving $677, or $18,700 in today’s dollars, in excess mileage when he served in Congress.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.