Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) announced his resignation from Congress Tuesday afternoon, Politico reported.
The abrupt resignation, effective March 31, of one of the youngest members of Congress and a rising star in the Republican Party came after multiple news outlets raised questions about his use of taxpayer and campaign funds.
“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 said in a statement, as quoted by Politico. “I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”
Politico reported that Schock resigned less than a day after the publication had raised questions about taxpayers footing the bill for mileage reimbursement on his personal vehicle.
The announcement also came after both Politico and the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Office of Congressional Ethics was making inquires about the congressman. The OCE carries out independent probes into alleged misconduct, which the organization may then bring to the attention House Committee on Ethics.
The congressman’s woes began in February, when a reporter for the Washington Post published photos of Schock’s lavish new Capitol Hill office. The decor was allegedly inspired by the British period drama “Downton Abbey.” Schock later reimbursed the $40,000 cost of the office decor with his personal funds.
That story prompted other outlets to take a closer look at Schock’s finances. The Associated Press used photos from Schock’s Instagram account to trace flights he took on donor’s private planes using taxpayer and campaign funds, while Buzzfeed noticed that Schock had used a lectern during appearances in his home district that appeared to be a replica one used by President Obama — and cost roughly $5,000.
Read Schock’s full statement below, as quoted by Politico:
“Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31. I do this with a heavy heart. 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. I have given them my all over the last six years. I have traveled to all corners of the District to meet with the people I’ve been fortunate to be able to call my friends and neighbors.
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. I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”
This post has been updated.