'Hottest congressman' accused of using campaign funds on workout DVDs

Republican Rep. Aaron Schock (Ill.), whose "musculature" and "body politic" garnered praise from Men's Health in 2011, is being accused of using campaign funds to buy home workout DVDs.

Schock, 30, purchased the P90X "Extreme Home Fitness" DVDs during the 2010 election cycle and classified them as a "healthcare" expense.

The purchase was identified as campaign-related by mistake, and a later report was amended to reflect the error, Schock Chief of Staff Steve Shearer told The Associated Press. 

He did not respond to requests for further comment by the time of this posting.

Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), authored a report that claims his campaign did not change the total amount reimbursed to Schock on an amended form.

"Originally, P90X was listed as an itemization on what were included on the total. They took those out, left the total the same," she told the AP.

"At some point, he realized the fitness tape was a problem and he amended the reports to take them out." 

Steve Dutton, a spokesman for Schock, strongly denied CREW’s accusation. 

“Congressman Schock personally paid American Express directly for the charge. It was mistakenly reported on our FEC report filed on July 15, 2010,” Dutton said in a statement. “We corrected that mistake when it happened by filing an amended FEC report on July 30, 2010. So that was corrected 20 months ago. The campaign never paid for the P90X DVD.”

Schock was first elected from his Peoria, Ill.-based district in 2008.

He earned the title "hottest congressman," alternatively "fittest congressman," after appearing partially shirtless on the Men's Health cover.

"When I first saw [P90X], I kind of laughed," Schock told the magazine. "I didn't think you could get a real workout from a DVD. But at 6:30 a.m., it helps to have somebody talking you through your workout."

The piece noted that Schock — Congress's youngest member — is one of about 12 lawmakers who exercise together using the program most mornings.

In the interview, he cited one of his favorite quotations, from Benjamin Franklin: "A good example is the best sermon.

"I think if you want to start talking about healthy lifestyles and staying in shape, then you yourself should do your best to try to be a model," he said.

Sloan, of CREW, called the alleged purchase of the DVDs with campaign funds "interesting."

"There is no way you can be allowed to spend that [campaign] money on the fitness tapes," she said.

— This story was updated at 3:37 p.m. to reflect that the congressman is being accused of using campaign funds to buy the DVDs. A statement from Schock's office was added at 4:02 p.m.