When outgoing Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., took to the U.S. House floor on Thursday to give his farewell speech, he not only mentioned all of the “good work” he’s done, but also compared himself to Abraham Lincoln.
Schock, who resigns on March 31 and is under investigation by the Justice Department for his spending of taxpayer and campaign funds and other business dealings, tried to draw a parallel between his life and that of the 16th president.
“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 said. “His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life.”
Yes, he really is like Abraham Lincoln. But not in the way Schock intended.
As has been widely reported, part of Schock’s troubles stem from how much he overbilled for mileage on his 2010 Chevy Tahoe, which he sold in 2014 with 81,860 miles.
From the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet:
By the end of 2013, Schock had already billed taxpayers for 111,856 miles – more than the Tahoe was driven. And by July 2014, when Schock got rid of the 2010 Tahoe, Schock had billed taxpayers for a total of 123,130 miles. Add to that payments covering 50,744 miles from his two campaign funds — most in 2014 — and the total mileage claimed was about 173,874. Because the odometer was frozen at 81,886, Schock overbilled for an estimated 91,988 miles.
Do you know who else had a habit of overbilling for mileage reimbursements? You guessed it.
ProPublica recently ran an article on how Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune used data in the mid-1800s to track how members of Congress were taking advantage of some outdated mileage reimbursement rules to seriously cash in.
As it turns out, Abraham Lincoln, or “Honest Abe,” was one of the major offenders of collecting excess mileage during his one term in the U.S. House.
Lincoln’s travel from faraway Springfield, Illinois, made him the recipient of some $677 in excess mileage — more than $18,700 today — among the House’s worst.
So yes, the two do have something in common.
But we have no idea if Lincoln would have been a fan of “Downton Abbey.”