Tuesday, March 21, 2006

mike pence: big spender

the washington post had an article sunday about congressmen in "safe" districts who continue to spend as if they were in the midst of an intense campagin. the article attracted some attention on indiana blogs because it analyzed the questionable spending habits of mike pence (R-Ind), among others.

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) spent $15,835 of campaign funds on condolence flowers for constituents, Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) used $8,328 of his campaign war chest to buy gifts for his staff, and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was reimbursed for a $1 "meal" at a local gas station, which his staff believes was bottled water.

$1? regardless what they might say on mcdonald's commercials, you can't buy a meal for $1, unless you're eating total peasant food (or student food), like top ramen noodles. mike pence is not the kind of guy who would live on ramen noodles.

In contrast, Pence, whose congressional district adjoins Souder's to the south, spent $348,255 in 2005, plus $25,472 from his PAC, after winning a third term in 2004 with 67 percent support.

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.

"When Mike Pence campaigns, he campaigns as if he's in a tight race," said William A. Smith, Pence's chief of staff. He said that his boss 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. "If he's doing political work, that's going to be part of his campaign budget," Smith said.

so there are some very questionable charges on those campaign accounts. i suppose one-on-one schmoozing lunches would make sense as a campaign expense, but who would really try to schmoooze at wendy's?

one of the commenters at masson's blog wondered when this story would "hit the Indiana media". little did she know that it already had. well, sort of.

the indy star had already posted a shorter version of the article on its website on sunday. the original washington post version was two pages; the indy star version is one page. i'll leave the contrast analysis of everything that was cut from the star version as an exercise for you, the reader, but i would like to point out one thing.

several congressmen (yes, they're all men) are discussed in the original piece, but only one, mike pence, is from indiana. so the content about pence is, one would think, the most valuable stuff in the article to indiana readers.

here is everything that the indy star's edit contains about mike pence:

In contrast, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., whose congressional district adjoins Souder's, spent $348,255, plus $25,472 from his PAC, after winning a third term in 2004 with 67 percent support.

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.

"When Mike Pence campaigns, he campaigns as if he's in a tight race," said William Smith, Pence's chief of staff. He said his boss prefers one-on-one meetings, which explains the numerous small charges, and said items are often billed to the campaign to avoid potential ethics questions.

take a look at that and compare it to the washington post quotes i included above. what's missing? the entire paragraph that mention's pence's "$1 meal", for one thing. all the stuff about $10 meals at wendy's and arby's is missing, too. (interestingly, the period from that sentence is still there.)

i suppose the extra period could indicate that the sentence wasn't meant to be deleted. perhaps that sentence even appeared in the print edition, though i'm not sure i can get my hands on a copy to check. but how curious that the most incriminating sentence in the article (toward pence, anyway) disappeared from the version on the star website. do you think it's a coincidence?

update: turns out we still had a copy of sunday's star lying around. the story appeared on page A5. the sentence in question is not there. and the mysterious period is there.

2 comments:

Doug said...

They discuss Souder a bit too in the article.

Anonymous said...

mike pence is a jack ass we need to toilet paper his house and steal the flags out of his yard in muncie again christioan shit head ,, i give 2 farts to his face a men