U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) will resign his office March 31 as questions continue to build about his use of his campaign fund and taxpayer money.
What began as an amusing story about his Downton Abbey-style office makeover grew quickly into a wide-ranging scandal as details emerged about Schock's use of private airplanes for personal trips, his extravagant spending on fundraising trips and, in the latest revelations, the possibility that he may have benefited financially from a real estate deal in Peoria involving campaign supporters and improperly billed taxpayers for tens of thousands of miles on his personal vehicle.
Schock on Feb. 25 hired lawyers and a public relations firm in an effort to get the scandal under control. But in announcing his resignation Tuesday, he said the allegations had become a "distraction" that hindered his official duties. Schock's office issued this statement:
Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31st.
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.
Schock's resignation came just hours after Washington-based magazine and website Politico asked for an explanation of some 90,000 miles for which Schock had been reimbursed on his personal vehicle.
Read more about Schock's resignation and the media scrutiny he has faced over the last six weeks at Reboot Illinois.
And watch this slideshow to learn about Schock's rise to congressional fame and his high-flying spending history: