Advance Indiana caught and expounds upon a Washington Post article on Rep. Mike Pence (IN-06) and some of his questionable campaign spending. Essentially Pence seems to be using campaign funds, some of which comes from lobbyist contributions, for expenses you and I would have to pay out of our own pocket: all the under $10 fast food “campaign expenses” particularly catch the eye. “Most were at fast-food or family-style restaurants, including Wendy’s, Arby’s, Ruby Tuesday, and various pancake houses and pizza parlors.”
Pence’s practice of using campaign funds for what appear to be personal expenditures is similar to the practices that got Pennsylvania’s Senator Rick Santorum in some hot water recently (66 charges at Starbucks, for example).
Santorum and Pence’s spokespeople seem to be reading from the same script. Santorum’s flack: “the campaign spokeswoman, defended all the charges as campaign-related,
saying the senator prefers to meet political aides in coffee shops
rather than on Senate property.” Pence’s flack: “[Rep. Pence] prefers one-on-one meetings to big groups, which explains the numerous small charges, and that items are often billed to the campaign, as opposed to the official account, to avoid potential ethics questions.”
Update stAllio! makes an interesting discovery. Compare the original version of the story as it pertains to Pence with the more sanitized version in the Indy Star.
Washington Post version:
Pence sought reimbursement for 293 meals in 2005, for a total of $9,806. Most were at fast-food or family-style restaurants, including Wendy’s, Arby’s, Ruby Tuesday, and various pancake houses and pizza parlors, as well as convenience stores and airport concessions based in Anderson, Ind. Ninety-four of the charges totaled $10 or less. He also paid $4,082 for a 1998 Oldsmobile minivan that he drove throughout his east-central Indiana district.
Pence sought reimbursement for 293 meals in 2005, for a total of $9,806. . He also paid $4,082 for a 1998 Oldsmobile minivan that he drove throughout his east-central Indiana district.
(The double period after $9,806 was in the Indy Star piece.) The bolded text above is the part excised from the original story by the Indianapolis Star. Obviously I couldn’t say for certain whether the excision was intentional or accidental (particularly given that the period ending that sentence appears to have been left), but it’s notable that the part left out is the eyebrow raising description of the nickel and dime daily living stuff. Clearly this isn’t Duke Cunningham taking bribes in exchange for handing out sweetheart military contracts or Tom DeLay laundering campaign contributions or Jack Abramoff spreading around dirty campaign money to Republicans like Bob Ney or any of the other indicted or soon to be indicted members of the GOP. But for a guy holding himself out as a champion of ethics reform in the Republican Party, it’s certainly worth a closer look.