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Feds drop charges against Aaron Schock for misusing taxpayer funds

Federal prosecutors dropped all charges Wednesday against former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock, who was indicted in 2016 for misusing government and campaign funds — including to decorate his office with a “Downton Abbey” theme.

Schock resigned from Congress after his expenditures raised red flags with watchdog groups and the feds.

He was charged with wire fraud and falsification of election filings, among other things. He also used taxpayer and campaign funds for private flights, tickets to the Super Bowl and the Country Music Awards, documenting much of his high-flying life on his Instagram account.

Rep. Aaron Schock's office, which was designed to resemble the dining room from 'Downton Abbey'
Rep. Aaron Schock’s office, which was designed to resemble the dining room from ‘Downton Abbey’Getty Images

The 37-year-old former pol agreed to pay $42,000 to the IRS and another $68,000 to his congressional campaign fund.

As part of the deal, his campaign committee pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to properly report expenses.

If Schock displays good behavior for six months, his criminal record will be gone.

But even before prosecutors announced their stunning decision, Schock’s return to social media signaled that things were looking up. He started posting to Instagram again last fall and is now back to regularly posting photos with celebrities, of his travels and of his abs.

Schock’s over-the-top Instagram helped make his a rising star during his time on Capitol Hill, but like his audacious “Downton Abbey” office, it also aided his downfall.

The Associated Press used location data from his Instagram to discover that he had spent taxpayer dollars and campaign funds to pay for private flights aboard planes owned by his donors.

Speaking to CBS News Wednesday, Schock said the investigation of his spending as taken a toll.

‘I’ve been trying to survive the last four years. When you go toe-to-toe with the federal government, they have an unlimited budget and most Americans don’t,” he told the network. “It’s come at significant cost to me financially and professionally,” he added.

Schock said he planned to pursue work in the private sector, but wouldn’t shut the door on a return to politics.

“At 37 years old, I don’t think I’ll ever say never,” Schock said.

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