New evidence shows that Trump and Pence are more alike than you would think – especially when it comes to campaign finance misconduct. Indiana Governor and newly anointed running mate of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, was involved in a 1990 congressional race which produced a financial scandal that would forever change campaign finance rules in America. He would be greatly appreciative if the American electorate would forget it ever happened.
Pence, at the time 31, was already a one-time loser at the ballot box, having been resoundingly defeated in a Congressional run in 1988 by the Democratic incumbent Philip R. Sharp. Pence’s second bite at the proverbial apple was proving to be of greater success before news broke that he used donations to his political campaign to pay for golf tournament fees, car payments for his wife, his mortgage, credit card bills, and even groceries. Pence was running on a platform that purported to show that he was above the influence of special interests while attempting to paint Sharp as not, and it all gloriously blew up in his face in typical Republican fashion. Pence was humiliated on election day and exited the political arena in disgrace after two consecutive defeats. He did not to attempt to run for office again for 10 years.
Sharp’s campaign manager, Billy Linville, recalls the debacle as if it were yesterday, “It was a brazen act of hypocrisy. It was a bombshell, for sure. Without question, he may well have won the election if it had not been for that.”
Pence was defiant in the face of harsh public criticism stating to the Daily Journal of Franklin, Indiana, “I’m not embarrassed that I need to make a living.” As is the case with most Republican politicians, Pence’s shamelessness and sense of entitlement knew no bounds. One does not “make a living” by swindling the American people out of their hard earned money to pay for golf tournaments.
The scandal prompted the Federal Election Commission to pass changes to rules which barred the use of political donations to be used for personal expenses, something at the time which was perfectly legal but nobody until Pence had done so brazenly.
Curiously the FEC attorney who cleared Pence was none other than Lois Lerner, the now infamous IRS official that became a favorite target of Republicans over her involvement with handling conservative groups and their tax statuses.
Naturally the Trump campaign, which has rewrote the book on political shamelessness, has no issue with Pence’s past financial woes. Seeing as Trump regularly pays for personal items with campaign donations, it makes plenty of sense that he would choose a man similarly corrupt for his running mate.
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.