Rep. Greg Pence, facing scrutiny for spending campaign funds on overnight stays at the Trump International Hotel, tweaked his campaign finance filings Tuesday “in order to avoid confusion here from hostile reporters,” a spokesman said.
A report to the Federal Election Commission shows that Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, has spent$22,064 at the Trump's hotel in Washington since December for various fundraising-related expenses.
But according to a USA Today investigation, $7,600 in expenses at the hotel were, prior to Tuesday, described as “lodging” expenses.
Members of Congress cannot spend campaign funds for their rent, mortgage, or any other expense related to their personal residence. That rule applies even to first-term lawmakers like Pence as they scramble to set up housing near the Capitol at the start of a new Congress.
Facing questions from the newspaper, the Indiana Republican changed the report so that the expenditures read “fundraising event costs” instead.
Asked by Roll Call if the congressman spent campaign funds at the Trump hotel for his personal housing, Pence chief of staff Kyle Robertson replied “no.”
Robertson did not reply to a request to elaborate on why “lodging” might to be a necessary fundraising expense.
Mike Pence was dinged by the press for tapping campaign funds to pay for his mortgage and other personal expenses when he ran for the same seat in Congress nearly 30 years ago.
Federal Election Commission rules have since been updated to forbid campaign spending on personal expenses, or costs that would exist even if the candidate were not running for office.
Trump properties like the Trump International Hotel in Washington — located blocks away from the White House — have attracted millions in spending by members of Congress and political committees, according to ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.