(CN) – Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois resigned Tuesday after weeks of intense scrutiny over his lavish spending and the alleged improper reporting of his expenses.
The congressman, who famously showed off his six-pack on the cover of Men’s Health magazine and decorated his congressional office in the style of TV’s “Downton Abbey,” said in a statement that he was resigning with “a heavy heart.”
“Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life,” Schock said. “I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington.”
However, he went on to say that “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 was considered a young rising star in the Republican Party. His troubles began in early February, after The Washington Post reported on his $40,000 office renovation in early February, and that he’d paid for the lavish furnishing out of his House expense account.
Two weeks later, hoping to put the story behind him, Schock reportedly repaid the money to his account, and wrote three checks, totaling $40,000 to the Illinois decorating firm, called Euro Trash, that had done the work on his office.
By then, however, a host of other news organizations were raising questions on everything from his use of donors’ private aircraft and concert tickets to whether he was bilking the government for tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements for his personal vehicle.
Schock reportedly did not inform any House leaders before making his decision. In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner said, “With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first. I appreciate Aaron’s years of service, and I wish him well in the future.”
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