Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report Friday claiming that a Republican Illinois congressman misused campaign funds for lavish hotels, cash reimbursements for his mother and even exercise programs and equipment.
CREW's analysis found that 110 representatives have reimbursed themselves and 69 have reimbursed family members with campaign funding from the 2008 and 2011 election cycles. Illinois' Rep. Aaron Schock falls squarely in both camps, and was the only legislator from the state to make the top five list of politicians who reimbursed the most money with a $154,466 in payouts from his campaign coffers.
According to CREW, that money covered expenses including nearly $50,000 for Schock's own travel, meals and miscellaneous spending during the 2008 election cycle, and more than double that in 2010, including stays at five-star hotels in Athens, Greece and Miami.
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.