WASHINGTON — When scandalized Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., resigns from Congress at the end of the month, he will still control $3.3 million in political funds and be eligible for a federal pension when he is 62 — if he is not convicted of committing a crime during his time in the House.
Schock on Tuesday said he would step down on March 31, in the wake of a series of disclosures about his spending taxpayer and government funds and his real estate dealings. Schock’s resignation comes as his legal and public relations team knew more grave revelations were coming and as the Sun-Times was conducting an investigation of his outsized mileage reimbursement claims.
While Schock probably ran up a hefty legal tab in the past weeks — he tried to get ahead of the controversy by hiring two lawyers to conduct an internal audit — he can tap into his campaign funds to pay the bill. Schock can also just sit on the money for years — in the event he wants to, some day, try for a comeback. Or he can send checks to other candidates, charities and causes.
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As of Dec. 31, the last reporting date, Schock’s cash-on-hand balances in his political funds totaled $3,354,228:
*Schock for Congress, $3,290,781.
*GOP Generation Y, $36,285.
*Schock Victory Fund, $27,162.
Schock could jeopardize getting a pension if he is convicted of a felony and found himself stripped of several years of service.
The formulas for congressional pensions are set by federal law — specifically in Title 5 U.S. Code Section 8415(b).
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.
According to a Congressional Research Service Report issued June 13, 2014, titled “Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress” if a lawmaker is convicted of certain kinds of felonies, any years where the illegal conduct was taking place can he excluded from “creditable service” towards a pension. Among the felonies covered in this provision are “fraud by wire, radio, or television, including as part of a scheme to deprive citizens of honest services” and “engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.”