Congressman Aaron Schock resigns amid spending controversy

Michael Walsh

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is resigning from Congress.

The 33-year-old congressman made the announcement amid controversy over his alleged unethical spending of campaign contributions and taxpayer money.

Politico first reported on the news that the young Republican is stepping down.

“Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31st,” Schock said in a statement, obtained by the news site. “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.”

He thanked his constituents for their faith in him to represent their interests in Washington, D.C., saying he gave his 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,” he said.

Schock says that “constant questions” have become a distraction and made it too difficult for him to serve the people who elected him, with the high standards that they deserve and that he expects of himself.

“I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve,” the statement concludes.

Revelations of extravagant spending (including his “Downton Abbey”-inspired office), questionable payments to donors, and inappropriately categorized expenses landed Schock under the microscope.

On Monday, new details emerged about a business deal between a political donor and a shell company that has been linked to Schock, raising even more suspicion of potentially dishonest practices. The Associated Press reported that the Office of Congressional Ethics had begun contacting Schock associates for a potential investigation.

Schock’s decision to resign reportedly came without consulting Republican leadership.

“With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “I appreciate Aaron’s years of service, and I wish him well in the future.”