Mike Pence’s Unscrupulous Spending Was So Bad That It Changed Laws
Mike Pence is the perfect choice for Trump. Because apparently, being openly anti-woman and gleefully anti-LGBT isn’t enough for the office of the vice presidency in Trump’s campaign. You also need to have a background in shady dealings, dirty politics, and unethical campaign spending.
Mike Pence can check off all the boxes.
But behind the scenes of his campaign, Pence was utilizing campaign donations in a way that was incredibly unethical, if not exactly illegal, at the time.
Campaign finance records from his 1990 attempt to unseat a long-term Democratic Congressman show that Pence had been using campaign donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bills, groceries, his wife’s car payment, and even golf tournament fees.
Republicans — as ever, the party of fiscal responsibility, right?
Pence’s spending wasn’t illegal at the time, but the legality of it had little impact on the ethics of the matter, and his willingness to use campaign donations as his personal bank account stunned voters, and certainly painted Pence as dishonest. It also seriously compromised his campaign’s message that the incumbent, Rep. Philip Sharp, was tainted by his willingness to accept donations from special interest groups. And it was a mistake that ultimately cost him the election.
‘Brazen Act Of Hypocrisy’
“It was a brazen act of hypocrisy,” said Billy Linville, who was Sharp’s campaign manager back in 1990. “It was a bombshell, for sure…Without question, he may well have won the election if it had not been for that.”
Pence’s stunning moment of dishonesty and theft was the direct catalyst to key changes in campaign finance policies, the Washington Post reports. The subsequent rules passed by the Federal Election Commission that barred the unethical but legal use of campaign funds for such unrelated expenses as a politician’s wife’s car payment or entry into a golf tournament were the direct result of Mike Pence and his 1990 campaign, experts say.
A Trump campaign spokesperson states that Pence did nothing wrong and that the FEC had determined that Trump’s VP pick was “100 percent compliant with the law at that time.”
Gotta love Republicans and their technicalities! They love to preach about morals, but unless those morals are actually legislated, then to Conservatives, they aren’t really necessary.
Pence’s defeat on the basis of his technically-legal-but-ethically-horrible theft of campaign donations actually proved to be a “defining moment.” Conservatives do love a reformed sinner — at least, reformed on the outside. Pence’s questionable spending habits led to a new public image for Trump’s eventual VP pick — one of remorse as he admitted his sins, and it helped create the “wholesome image” that many GOP insiders say make him the perfect foil to Trump’s “bombastic” style.
And by “wholesome,” they mean staunchly anti-choice and anti-gay.
Of course, before Pence lost due to his unscrupulous campaign finances, he was absolutely unapologetic about his campaign spending, whining to reporters that he needed the money, since he had taken a 30 percent pay cut to run for office.
“I’m not embarrassed that I need to make a living,” he said at the time.
(By “making a living,” Pence meant “pay my bills using taxpayer money that isn’t mine.” He really is the perfect Republican, isn’t he?)
According to FEC documents, Pence spent a total of $12,867 from his 1990 campaign account for personal expenses. But hey – the guy needed to make a living, okay? Golf tournaments don’t pay for themselves.