The Slatest

Abraham Lincoln Was Also Busted for Inflating Reimbursement Mileage

Not the real Abraham Lincoln.

Christopher Aluka Berry/Reuters

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock resigned Tuesday; Schock has been accused of a number of financial improprieties, the latest of which was an apparent vehicle mileage reimbursement scam uncovered by Politico:

Schock billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car between January 2010 and July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had only roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer, according to public records obtained by POLITICO under Illinois open records laws.

In what appears to be simply an amazing coincidence, the muckraking site ProPublica posted an entertaining story earlier Tuesday about an 1848 incident in which a number of federal legislators, including an Illinois congressman named Abraham Lincoln, were … busted for receiving inflated travel reimbursements. The story was broken by Horace Greeley, a newspaper publisher (he’s the “Go west, young man” guy) who’d been appointed to fill a vacated New York congressional seat.

On Dec. 22, 1848, with Greeley now simultaneously its editor and a brand new congressman from New York, the Tribune published a story and a table in two columns of agate type. The table listed each congressman by name with the mileage he received, the mileage the postal route would have granted him and the difference in cost between them … Among the accused stood Abraham Lincoln, in his only term as congressman. 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.

It is the official editorial position of Slate that Abraham Lincoln should resign from Congress.