Aaron Schock — the Republican Congressman best known not for his policies but for his pecs and abs — stands accused by CREW of using more than $150,000 of his campaign funds as a “slush fund,” including over $300 to purchase the popular P90X workout DVDs. CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington also accused Rep. Schock’s mother of benefitting from more than $24,000 in campaign funds. Labeling Rep. Aaron Schock’s behavior “egregious,” the CREW report, Family Affair, accuses “a shocking 248 House members used their positions to financially benefit themselves or family members.”
“In the case of Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), the young congressman from Illinois’ campaign committee reimbursed him more than $150,000 over the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, including paying for a stay at a five-star hotel in Athens, Greece. His campaign committee also reimbursed his mother almost $24,000 during the same time frame,” CREW states, adding:
“A campaign account is not a personal slush fund,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “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. Conduct like this reinforces the widely held view that members of Congress are more interested in enriching themselves and their family members than in public service.”
Campaign records show Rep. Schock’s campaign committee reimbursed him over $150,000 during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles. More than $30,000 of these reimbursements were for hotels, including stays at high-end resorts in Athens and Miami. Rep. Schock’s campaign committee also initially reported paying more than $300 to P90X, a fitness training DVD company, and classified it as a “health care” expense. Additionally, Rep. Schock’s campaign committee reimbursed his mother, Janice Knapp, almost $24,000 for various expenses over the same time frame.
Rep. Schock is an early Mitt-Romney supporter, who earlier this month told NPR, ”No one who has hired Gov. Romney has been disappointed or sorry they did, and I think that really distinguishes himself from some of the other candidates.”
In 2001, Rep. Schock “co-sponsored Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which states that “each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood,” according to OnTheIssues. Rep. Schock also co-sponsored the co-sponsored Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act which prohibits federal funding to groups like Planned Parenthood.
The Huffington Post notes:
Most surprising was a $319 “healthcare” expense paid on the “hottie” congressman’s behalf to P90X, a fitness training company, according to CREW’s report. Schock’s critics have noted that this inclusion of healthcare expenses in his campaign budget contradicts the congressman’s voting record opposing the inclusion of healthcare maintenance costs in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“A lot of what other people did is not illegal,” Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, told the Peoria Journal-Star. “What Aaron Schock did crossed the line.”
Schock’s spokespeople say that the P90X charge was mistakenly filed with the Federal Election Commission and that Schock personally paid for the cost of the DVD, according to the International Business Times. The other charges were related to “reasonable expenses directly related to either campaign expenditures or fund-raising costs,” a spokesperson told the Times.
This is far fromt he first time the young Republican’s physique has made headlines: in 2009 he was named the “Hottest Freshman” Congressional Representative, and last year he graced the cover of Men’s Health magazine shirtless.
In May of 2011, Schock was indeed Men’s Health’s cover model. In a profile titled, “The Ripped Representative,” Men’s Health noted, “Aaron Schock is challenging you to lose weight and get healthier this summer. Take the Fit for Life Summer Challenge and see the program that will help you drop 10, 20, or 30 pounds and slash your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many other diseases dramatically!”
And Schock did pen a post:
With the Fit for Life Summer Challenge, I’m challenging you—and all Americans—to sign up for an easy fitness plan than can help you drop 10, 20, even 30 pounds or more by Labor Day and get in the best shape of your life. I’ve teamed with Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines to design a program that’s so easy and effective that I know it will work for you. (And it’s free.) By the end of the summer, you can slash your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many other diseases dramatically.
How does that help America? Consider this: Health care may be the single biggest factor in our nation’s ongoing budget crisis. Yet 8 out of every 10 dollars we spend on health care is spent on diseases that are preventable; if only we took better care of ourselves. Think of the billions of dollars we could use for better infrastructure, renewable energy, and job creation. Not to mention a little more cash in your pocket.
The Men’s Health Facebook page that featured Rep. Schock’s cover also featured over 50 comments, most not especially supportive of the Congressman.
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