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.
So when is this going to hit the Indiana media?
I’m sure the Muncie Star Press and the Richmond Palladium-Item are working on in depth investigative reports as we speak.
I doubt this will be the subject of any significant Indiana media attention.
The Muncie Star first reported on Pence’s unusual spending habits years ago — he used campaign funds to rent cars and to make his house payments while campaigning against Congressman Phil Sharp.
Really? Thanks. Hopefully they’ll re-open their files. That sort of sketchy behavior seems like more of an issue in the wake of DeLay, Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, and the rest of the unaddressed ethics concerns in the House.
I haven’t seen anything in the Palladium-Item yet, but I don’t read it every day, either. :)Sometimes the Pal-Item will do slightly tweaked mirror versions of Muncie Star Press stories, so there is a chance there will be coverage of Pence’s spending if the Star Press covers it. Not holding my breath, however.
the indy star site has a version of the post article here:
curiously, all the most incriminating stuff about pence has been excised from this version of the article: the “$1 meal”, the meals at arby’s, etc.
do you think it’s a coincidence that these details are missing from the star’s version of the piece?
Our boy Mike is a dirty, dirty boy.
This stuff about paying for McDonald’s out of campaign funds is just the tip of Pence’s moral lapses.
This man campaigned in 1988 arguing for campaign finance reform. My, oh my, the times have changed.
The links are dead at this point but in 2005, Pence was called out for refusing to give up ARMPAC money by the Anderson Herald Bulettin.
“Pence to keep ARMPAC contributions
By LYNELLE MILLER
With Rep. Tom DeLay’s recent indictment for allegedly conspiring to violate Texas campaign fundraising laws, at least two Republicans in the House of Representatives have said they will return money donated by DeLay’s political action committee (PAC).
Rep. Mike Pence, of Indiana’s 6th District, has decided to keep the money he received from PAC.
Pence has received campaign contributions from Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC) but has no plans to return the money. A total of $19,865 has been given in the form of four separate donations and were received in 2000 and 2002, said Bill Smith, Pence’s chief of staff.
According to Smith, this money, along with all donations, is used to run Pence’s campaign.
“Everything we’ve received and spent for his campaign has been done in a legal and ethical manner, and we have no qualms about it,” said Smith. “Congressman Pence does not make a practice of returning funds that were legally contributed to past campaigns and legally spent.””
The key quote here is at the end, “Congressman Pence does not make a practice of returning funds that were legally contributed to past campaigns and legally spent.”
While strictly true this is not the first time the our boy Mike has been hounded to cough up unsavory campaign contributions. In 2002, Pence was forced to cough up $1000 in contributions from Worldcom. (link dead, again.)
“Congressman to return contribution from WorldCom
MUNCIE — An Indiana Congressman announced he will return a campaign contribution from embattled telecommunications giant WorldCom Inc. after being challenged to do so by his opponent in the upcoming election.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-6th District, received the $1,000 contribution from WorldCom’s political action committee last December, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Executives from the now-bankrupt WorldCom were arrested last week on corporate fraud charges. Since 1989, the company contributed $7.5 million to federal candidates and parties, according to FEC reports and research by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.
Pence told The Star Press for a story Saturday that he was unaware of the contribution. He later confirmed the contribution with his campaign finance director, Ron Arnold, who said the campaign will refund the money.
The contribution came during a fund-raiser with the congressman last December, Arnold said.
Melina Fox, Pence’s Democratic opponent, had challenged his campaign to return the money from WorldCom. Pence told The Star Press he was unaware of Fox’s criticism.”
The most galling thing about Pence coughing up that $1000 contribution from Worldcom, was that he claimed to have no idea that he had taken money from Worldcom. So either he didn’t know or he didn’t care. Either one doesn’t look to good to me. Even accepting his argument that he didn’t know, what does it say about this man that he takes money without considering the source. I guess it says that he’s a Tom Delay Republican. And it gets worse, in what has to be the most damning evidence that Mike Pence knew where his money was coming from and didn’t care we see that first Pence took the money, then he gave it back, then the day before the election when the heat was off, he took the money back from Worldcom.
God bless public records, and those campaign finance law that Pence has such trouble with.
It’s all in the public domain.
Pence recieved a $1000 contribution from Worldcom on 12/07/2001. Then after Pence’s Worldcom contribution was outed, Pence refunded the contribution on 09/06/2002. Remember Pence said he had no idea that he had taken money from Worldcom, and giving the man the benefit of the doubt you’d think that he’d be more careful who he took money from in the future, right?
FEC records show that Pence took a $1000 contribution from Worldcom PAC on 11/04/2002, the day before the 2002 general election. Shortly after the election Worldcom’s PAC was renamed the “MCI INC. EMPLOYEES POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE” thereby creating a layer of protection against anyone digging into the old records seeing that this was from Worldcom.
When is the Muncie StarPress going to start running the above items on Mike Pence? I would bet the Muncie StarPress knew about that Pence took the money back the day before the election. I feel Pence is not what he claims to be. I am so tried of people saying their Christians by using God but not living by God’s Bible. It is time our newspapers print ALL the news not give that spin to it the paper is famous what. Just print all the people running for office even. Not just making Pence look good. The StarPress must become honest with all good or bad news. Be professional!!!