Mike Pence is heading to Indiana for a high-dollar fundraiser for his PAC. The funds can be used to pay his new lawyer in the Russia probe.
Last month, Mike Pence set up a leadership PAC.
The fund can be used to bolster congressional candidates, but as Bloomberg noted, it's “unusual” for a vice president to create his own PAC. Others pointed out that forming the PAC could be a sign of Pence's intent to run for higher office.
But the PAC can serve another purpose.
On Thursday, Pence hired a high-priced lawyer to deal with the growing Russia scandal, which continues to close in on the White House and expose Pence's involvement. Pence is claiming that it's "very routine." But of course, nothing about this administration is routine.
According to CNN, a Pence adviser says his legal fees will be paid through "non-taxpayer funds," but did not further elaborate.
Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington immediately noted the connection between Pence's PAC and his hiring of outside counsel:
#TBT Mike Pence setting up a leadership PAC last month. Now lobbyists can give him $5k a year for his Russia lawyers https://t.co/2OaKLFusiN
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) June 15, 2017
According to the Washington Post, "The process of hiring a lawyer took several weeks." Pence launched his PAC on May 17.
Now, as pressure on Pence continues to build — notably, members of Trump’s transition team, which was led by Pence, were ordered to preserve documents related to the Russia investigation just yesterday — he's headed to his home state of Indiana to raise money for the PAC.
The invitation to the fundraiser states that top tickets are available for $5,000.
If Pence uses his PAC to pay his legal fees, Democratic campaign finance lawyer Bob Bauer says that's a problem:
"It is a problem if a committee is formed and money raised for the expressed purpose of supporting candidates and normal political activities," Bauer said, "but the intention is in fact to establish a personal legal expense fund."
Pence has become increasingly unpopular. This won't help.