Ethics Group Goes After VP Pence Over Using Taxpayer Dollars For Publicity Stunt

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Vice President Mike Pence made quite a scene when he chose to walk out of a Colts vs 49ers game on Sunday morning after seeings dozens of players protest during the national anthem. Pence later tweeted about his decision to leave the game, saying that everyone should “rally around our flag and everything that unites us.”

Pence’s walkout has received a lot of media attention, especially after President Trump posted a tweet that implied the whole thing had been planned ahead of time. However, Pence is also receiving criticism for a different reason: the amount of money his trip to Indianapolis cost taxpayers.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak was one of the first to point out just how expensive Pence’s trip was for the American people:

‘A C32 (AF2) costs $42,936/hour. Pence flew 2.5 hours from Vegas to Indianapolis and then flew back to LA’

Daniel Dale, the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, did the math and chimed in with an estimate of the total cost of Pence’s trip. Dale also pointed out that “thousands in costs for accommodation and security” also needed to be factored in.

‘Pence’s stunt likely cost more than $250,000 at minimum. In addition to the NV-IN/IN-CA flights, there are also thousands in costs for accommodation and security in IN.’

These posts from Dale and Liptak caught the attention of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The watchdog group tweeted on Sunday afternoon:

‘CAN WE JUST MAKE IT THROUGH A WEEKEND WITHOUT THIS ADMINISTRATION ABUSING TAXPAYER DOLLARS WITH JET TRAVEL!?’

A number of people responded to the question, and the general consensus seems to be that a weekend with abusing taxpayers dollars is too much to ask of Trump and his staff.

The revelations about how Pence’s expensive trip come at the same time that several other members of the Trump administration are being criticized for using taxpayer dollars to upgrade their travel from commercial flights to military and charter planes.

Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, resigned last week, after reports surfaced revealing that he’d spent more than $1 million on overseas travel in the last few months. Meanwhile, Trump’s Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, and Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin, are both being investigated for potentially inappropriate travel expenditures.

Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

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