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Next career for Rep. Aaron Schock: ‘Front man,’ says Sen. Mark Kirk

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., suggested on Thursday a new career for scandalized Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who is resigning at the end of the month in the wake of mounting legal problems.

The telegenic millennial, a hit on social media, could be a “front man,” Kirk said.

Kirk declined to pile on when I asked him about Schock, 33, who is quitting Congress after revelations of questionable business dealings and spending from his taxpayer and campaign accounts. Schock’s departure will not automatically shut down any Justice Department inquiry, if there is one.

“I talked to Aaron yesterday. I said, ‘We love ya, hang in there,’” Kirk said.

Kirk, referring to himself as someone who’s gone through some “firestorms,” said he told Schock, “’remember you served your country and Peoria. You are not only popular in Peoria, you were beloved,’ ” Kirk said.

I asked him if Schock bore responsibility for his plight.

“We are all responsible for everything that happens on our watch,” said Kirk.

Kirk then suggested what Schock could do next.

“I would say in my view, in his post-member life, I thing some big company is going to grab him up and have him be the front man. He’d be the ideal front man for some big company.”

“What do you mean by front man?” I asked.

Replied Kirk, “To be the person on camera representing the company.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at a Thursday news conference said he has not talked to Schock and he was “stunned” by Schock’s surprise resignation. He does not see the Schock episode as the trigger for tougher ethics rules.

“I have to tell you I was a bit stunned by the — by the announcement,” Boehner said.

“But I think I expect and the American people expect members of Congress to be held to the highest ethical standards. And I think Mr. Schock made a decision. Frankly, I support the decision he made.

“I do think there are ample controls in place to deal with the allegations that are involved here. But understand something: If somebody’s going to violate the rules, you know, they’re going to violate the rules. And in almost every case, sooner or later, it catches up with you.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference that Schock’s conduct was so “outrageous” that it wasn’t about needing more stringent safeguards.

“I would like to think that what happened in that particular case is so outrageous and so unusual that – I don’t think it should trigger the ethics training.  I think we should just do the ethics training period, so everybody has a comfort level as to what is personal, what is official, what is political.  That’s really where lines are crossed.

I asked Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., whether Schock shows a need for more ethics policing.

Said Durbin, “I think the rules are clear though, about how we are supposed to use campaign and public funds.”

KIRK FEATURES CHICAGO FOOD AT GOP SENATE LUNCH

Most Thursdays when the Senate is in session, the GOP senators gather for a lunch, and they take turns hosting and bringing in products from their home states. It was Kirk’s turn on Thursday, and he dipped into his campaign fund to fly in food from Illinois that you just can’t get in D.C.

The menu:  Green River soda, Easter bread from Turano Bakery, Old-Fashioned Summer Sausage from Wenneman Meat Company, Lou Malnati’s pizza, Real Urban BBQ baby back ribs, Eli’s cheesecake and Portillo’s hot dogs and Italian beef.