VP Mike Pence's leadership PAC stays out of IN GOP Senate primary

VP Mike Pence's leadership PAC stays out of IN GOP Senate primary
Posted at 2:17 PM, Apr 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-28 14:36:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hoosier donors have come out in a big way for Vice President Mike Pence’s leadership PAC – but so far, almost none of that money has made its way back to Indiana Republicans’ campaigns.

Pence’s Great America Committee leadership PAC has raised more than $962,000 in individual contributions (and an additional $850,000 in transfers from other committees) since it was founded in May 2017, according to the PAC’s latest filing to the Federal Election Commission last week.

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More than a third of those contributions – $342,000 – has come from Hoosiers. But so far, the Great America Committee has reported contributing just $5,400 to Indiana campaigns, and all of it to one candidate: the vice president’s brother, Greg Pence.

The former congressman and governor has been noticeably absent from the three-way competition between Republicans Todd Rokita, Luke Messer and Mike Braun – a race political observers have dubbed the GOP’s “nastiest” primary in the nation -- to challenge Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly in November.

The PAC is supporting GOP candidates elsewhere, though. Thus far, Great America Committee has reported contributing $27,000 to races in Georgia, New York and Texas, and roughly $21,000 in Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.

The PAC’s top target so far has been Pennsylvania – a state that helped then-candidate Donald Trump win an upset victory in 2016. Its latest filing shows the PAC has contributed $32,400 to Republican candidates in the state. Those contributions were fueled entirely by out-of-state donors, though, as the PAC hasn’t reported raising a single dollar in donations from Pennsylvania residents or businesses.

Outside of direct contributions, Pence’s PAC has reported spending $262,496 on finance & political strategy consulting from MO Strategies Inc. – a firm formed last year by long-time Pence associate Marty Obst and Craig Kunkle, who was the treasurer for Messer’s 2014 congressional campaign.

The PAC also spent $116,927 to rent space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for fundraising events in January and March. FEC filings show the PAC spent a total of $18,480 for a fundraising event at the JW Mariott in Indianapolis last June.

The vice president made a return visit to Indianapolis on Thursday to join Gov. Eric Holcomb for the announcement of an additional 1,000 jobs Infosys will be bringing to the city. He is scheduled to return next month to headline an event organized by America First Policies to speak about the impact of Republican tax cuts on the nation and state.

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