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Congressman resigns after being called out for defrauding taxpayers, but will still keep $3.3M in campaign funds and government pension

Aaron Schock

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(NaturalNews) Even when Americans are able to force corrupt politicians from office, it often doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because their crimes do pay - and pay well.

Disgraced Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois, is being forced to resign from Congress at the end of March. But he still controls $3.3 million in political funds (previous contributions) and he will also be eligible for a federal pension when he turns 62 - that is, if he is not convicted of committing crimes while serving in the U.S. House.

As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Schock told House leadership and constituents that he would step down March 31 following "a series of disclosures about his spending taxpayer and government funds on his real estate dealings."

Schock's decision came just hours after the political news site Politico, in a report, "raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements he received for his personal vehicle."

'I certainly hope not'

Politico further reported:

Schock billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car from January 2010 through July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer, according to public records obtained by POLITICO under Illinois open records laws. The documents, in other words, indicate he was reimbursed for 90,000 miles more than his car was driven.

The Sun-Times noted that his resignation comes as those close to him knew even more revelations were likely to be publicized in the coming days and weeks. But it might not have mattered much, considering that the rank-and-file congressman who had developed a taste for extravagance beyond his means will have the means to fund any legal defense he may need to mount.

He could sit on the money for many years, too, and perhaps use it to fund a comeback campaign. Or he could transfer it to other candidates, charities and political causes, the Sun-Times reported.

As to his pension, that would be forfeited if he is convicted of a felony; the result would be that he'd lose several years of federal service as well. Congressional pensions are a matter of federal law, and specifically Title 5, U.S. Code, Section 8415(b).

As noted by the Sun-Times:

Schock, 33, can collect a congressional pension of about $17,748 when he is 62, having served the minimum five years to be eligible for the payments. Since lawmakers get cost-of-living-adjustments, the amount will be likely be higher in 29 years. Schock was sworn in as a House member in January, 2009; he completed his 6th year two months ago.

Schock's base salary is $174,000. The pension for a lawmaker in Schock's category is calculated by this formula: Salary x years of service x .017; for Schock it's $174,000 x 6 x .017 = $17,748.

He first came to Congress in 2008.

History of extravagance, phony billing, improper expenditures

In a recent interview with Politico Schock said he was uncertain whether he had broken any laws.

"I certainly hope not," he told the news site, adding that since he wasn't an attorney, he was unable to know whether he had broken laws or violated ethics rules.

Politico further reported:

During the past month, Schock repaid the government $40,000 after spending money from his official office budget to redecorate his office to resemble the set of PBS's "Downton Abbey," an English historical drama. He also reimbursed taxpayers more than $1,200 after using his office account to pay to fly on a private plane to a Chicago Bears football game.

In a statement to reporters, Schock cited the continuing investigations as an insurmountable distraction to his service.

"[T]he 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," he said. "I have always sought to do what's best for my constituents, and I thank them for the opportunity to serve."

The National Journal reported that Republicans in Illinois were considering replacing Schock with state Sen. Darin LaHood, who is known for his backing of ethics reform.





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