Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, known for his relative youth and habit of posing shirtless, used campaign funds to buy exercise DVDs, finance fancy trips and reimburse his mother, according to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Schock, first elected to Congress in 2008 at age 27, charged $319 in payments to exercise DVD maker P90X to his campaign, listing the expense as “health care.” His office told Fox Chicago that this was an error and that Schock has since repaid the money.
“At some point, he realized the fitness tape was a problem and he amended the reports to take them out,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “There is no way you can be allowed to spend that (campaign) money on the fitness tapes.”
In addition to the comical DVD charge, Schock reimbursed his mother, Janice Knapp, for approximately $24,000 in campaign-related expenses, according to the report. His spokesman explained that during her son’s 2008 and 2010 campaigns, Knapp would purchase “whatever the campaign needed” on her own, and then be reimbursed.
Schock reimbursed himself $150,000 over the past two election cycles, including for a stay at the five-star Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens, Greece. The congressman’s chief of staff, Steve Shearer, told the Peoria Journal-Star that this reimbursement was also an accident that has since been corrected, saying that it “was a credit card receipt that was included with a stack of other legitimate campaign expenses.”
“It’s hard to fathom how a hotel stay in Greece could be a legitimate campaign expense, but that accounts for only a small portion of the money Rep. Schock pocketed from his campaign,” said Sloan in a statement accompanying the report.
In 2011 Schock posed for the June cover of Men’s Health magazine, producing well-circulated photos of the congressman’s six-pack. Within Congress, he has advocated against what he considers wasteful spending, notably including the expense of signage identifying construction projects funded by the 2009 stimulus bill.
Other findings from the CREW report include that Schock charged his campaign for $390 paid to Seaborne Seaplane, an airline based in the Virgin Islands, and for lodging at the One Bal Harbour luxury resort in Miami. (SEE ALSO: Ab-solutely Schocking! Rep. Aaron Schock focuses on the important issue of the day: his abs)
CREW has nominated Schock for its “scoundrel of the month” award, and is accepting votes for Schock and three other “finalists” for the dubious honor.