WASHINGTON -- Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who plans to resign next week amid a mounting ethics scandal, compared himself to Abraham Lincoln in a farewell speech on Thursday.
Speaking on the House floor, the Illinois lawmaker likened his current “adversity” to the 16th president's troubled life.
“I leave here with sadness and humility. For those I have let down, I will work tirelessly to make it up to you,” Schock said. “I know God has a plan for my life.”
“I also know that every person faces adversity in life. Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term, but few faced as many defeats in his personal, business and public life as he did.”
Schock’s political career has fallen apart in less than two months, ever since a Washington Post article revealed that taxpayer dollars had paid for a lavish, "Downton Abbey"-esque redecoration of his Capitol Hill office. He has since reimbursed the government $40,000 on that score.
He also allegedly billed taxpayers for tens of thousands of miles that his car may not have traveled and for private air travel, according to Politico.
The mountain of allegations led the 33-year-old lawmaker, once a rising star in the Republican Party, to announce his resignation last week, saying the accusations had become a “great distraction.”
On Thursday, Schock looked to Lincoln’s “continual perseverance” as an example of “something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valiant life.”
“And I know this is not the end of a story but rather the beginning of a new chapter,” he said.
Throughout his six-minute speech, Schock touted his work in Congress.
“I’m proud of the work I’ve done to contribute to a Republican majority here in Congress,” he said. “I am proud to have played a role in building it.”
He expressed regret that he would not be in Congress to help reform the U.S. tax code, but described his joy in having already aided veterans, fought government overreach and worked to pass job-creating legislation. He did not directly address the allegations against him.
Despite Schock's resignation, the FBI and federal prosecutors in Illinois said last week that they would conduct an investigation into whether he broke the law in accounting for campaign expenses.