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March 20, 2015

Congressman resigns amid spending allegations

Washington, D.C.--Rep. Aaron Schock, an Illinois Republican with a viciously anti-gay voting record, resigned on March 17, finding himself at the intersection of schadenfreude and poetic justice.

Schock was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, when he was 27 years old, entering office in January 2009. Since then, the Peoria prettyboy found himself the target of the media, ethics investigations and the LGBT community.

Michelangelo Signorile, representing the Huffington Post’s Gay Voices section at the 2012 Republican National Convention, directly asked Schock if he were gay. The congressman, instead of saying either yes or no, told him that it was “ridiculous and inappropriate” and stormed off, according to Signorile.

However, Schock was best known for his preening posts on Instagram showing him working out at the gym, his cover article in Men’s Health magazine entitled “The Ripped Representative,” and his trips to India and England have seen him joined by male companions who were either on his staff at the time or after, despite the questionable usefulness of their presences.

It is those trips, along with other financial reporting irregularities, that brought him to this juncture. The public perception of him as being possibly gay but having an abysmally anti-gay voting record on things like the repeal of the military’s ban on same-sex marriage, expansion of hate crime legislation and antidiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation and favoring a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, however, earned him a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, and much glee from the LGBT community at his downfall.

Irregularities with Schock’s financial reports extend far beyond the odd foreign trip, with domestic flights on private planes among them. He also billed his campaign fund and the federal government for 170,000 miles driven on his personal car from 2010 to 2014, but when it was sold, the car only had 80,000 miles on it, meaning he overbilled by 90,000 miles.

A massive renovation of his office to resemble Downton Abbey was also suspect, and the congressman reimbursed the government $40,000 for it.

Schock labeled $3,000 of a $13,000 flight on a private airplane for a Chicago Bears football game as a software expense.

The Office of Congressional Ethics opened an investigation into his spending and reporting on the last day of February. That investigation will disappear with his resignation, although law enforcement officials could still take action against him if they believe he violated the law.

Itay Hod, a freelance journalist, asked in a blog post in January 2014 why nobody had outed “a hypothetical… certain GOP congressman, let’s just say from Illinois,” who had been caught with his “male roommate in the shower,” as well as “been caught by TMZ cameras trolling gay bars.”

Well, after March 31, they will be outing former Congressman Aaron Schock.









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