(2015-03-17) — Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock announced his resignation today after revelations that he double-billed the taxpayers and his campaign donors for mileage on his Chevy Tahoe. But before leaving at the end of the month, Rep. Schock says he’ll introduce one last piece of legislation, expanding federal funding for minimum-security penitentiaries in Illinois.
Schock rejected allegations that self-interest motivated the bill, which would provide “more commodious accommodations for Illinois’ non-violent offenders, allowing them to live in the style to which they have become accustomed while devoted to public service.”
“This isn’t about me,” said the Republican lawmaker, who recently paid back $40,000 to the Treasury that he had used to decorate his Washington office in the style of the TV show Downton Abbey.
“There’s clearly a need for improvements to our state’s prisons,” Schock said. “Illinois has a long and storied tradition of politicians who leave public office to live in close quarters among the common the people. So, clearly, the demand is there.”
The Congressman cited former Illinois Governors Rod Blogojevich, George Ryan and Dan Walker, as well as former Congressmen Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds, as part of a long list of “Illinois politicians proudly repaying their debts to society in the most humble way a public servant can serve. Time precludes listing them all here today.”
The conditions in minimum-security correctional facilities in Illinois, he said, are “lamentable and très gauche.”
“You can’t pack them in like sardines,” Schock said. “Their punishment shouldn’t be confinement in uncomfortable surroundings. It’s bad enough that their expense accounts get so drastically reduced.”
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said he was, “of course, glad to see a Republican leave the chamber, but for the life of me, I can’t understand why he had to quit. The rest of us are still here.”