U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R, Crocodile Tears) told the media he was “stunned” Rep. Aaron Schock (R, Illinois) has announced his resignation. Heh.
For those who haven’t been following along, Rep. Schock was caught with both hands in the cookie jar. In the finest tradition of Illinois politics, for example, he billed the federal government for 172,000 business-use miles on his Chevrolet Tahoe from 2010-2014. A pretty good trick, considering there were only 81,000 miles on the odometer. That news came after reports of tens of thousands of dollars in improper reimbursements for things like private jet charters to see a Chicago Bears game, epic-scale remodeling of this D.C. office and $500 a night hotel bills.
The Office of Congressional Ethics had belatedly launched an investigation, but that will vanish with Schock’s resignation. Schock has reimbursed the Feds for the frauds that have gone public. We’ll likely never know all of the ways this clown lined his pockets. Schock is just another kleptocrat in the long tradition of Illinois kleptocrats. He’ll be a lobbyist before the year is out.
The “stunned” Speaker Boehner opined that the latest evidence of the hopeless inadequacy of current ethics and reporting rules didn’t indicate a need for real ethics rules or the enforcement of existing ones. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Boehner said he did not think there was a need to overhaul regulations governing his members, arguing that there were already “ample controls” to deal with the kinds of allegations that Mr. Schock was facing.
“If someone’s going to violate the rules, they’re going to violate the rules,” Mr. Boehner said in his weekly news conference. “In almost every case, sooner or later, it catches up with you.”
“It” caught up to Shock because of good investigative reporting by Politico and The Washington Post. Not as the result of good work by the milquetoast Office of Congressional Ethics or functional reporting requirements under federal law. As Schock has shown, there are members of Congress who – gasp – will lie on those forms.
But Speaker Boehner’s comments are nothing compared to Schock’s former colleagues. Representative Ted Yoho, (R, Florida), for example, saw it as a sign: giving up his House seat, Mr. Yoho said, was a sign that Congress was losing a future leader. “If you’re willing to take yourself out of the game for some reason, I think that’s a sign of leadership.”
WC isn’t from Florida and isn’t a Republican, but to WC it’s more like the opposite of “leadership.” Criminal fraud, false financial reports, theft and embezzlement are “crimes,” not “leadership.” WC wonders if the confusion is a Republican thing or a Florida thing?