A US politician accused of using taxpayer money to furnish his office in the style of Downton Abbey has announced that is he resigning.
Aaron Schock, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, said he would be stepping down at the end of the month. The 33-year-old announcement came as questions swirled about the lavish decorations at the office on Capitol Hill as well as his spending on travel.
“The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” Mr Schock said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Politico.
He added: “I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”
Mr Schock, who gained a following for posting eye-catching images of himself surfing and on vacation, had been facing a series of questions since a newspaper reported on the decision by the Congressman to decorate his office in the style of the British period drama.
This included bright red walls, a gold trim and black candles. The office also boated a crystal chandelier and a decorative arrangements of pheasant feathers.
“It’s actually based off of the red room in Downton Abbey,” a woman sitting in the office told the Washington Post.
House Speaker John Boehner issued his own statement, which said: "With this decision, Rep Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first. I appreciate Aaron's years of service, and I wish him well in the future."
Mr Schock had developed something of a flashy reputation for himself.
“Well, I've never been an old crusty white guy. I’m different. I came to Congress at 27," he told one reporter, explaining what inspired his decision to decorate his office in the way he did. "When I go take a personal vacation I don’t sit on the beach, I go do active things
But there had been many reports that he failed to disclose some expenditures and had to repay others.