Mike Pence has showered thousands on his boss through shady deals.
Vice President Mike Pence may have found a way to reward his boss for keeping him on the 2020 ticket.
A quarter of the money spent by Pence's political action committee (PAC) in January was spent at Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel. And because Trump has decided to bypass the traditional ethical guidelines followed by past presidents, some portion of that money will find its way into his personal accounts.
Great America Committee, which is led by Pence, spent $36,256.40 at the hotel between December 2018 and January 2019.
The payoff is a classic example of "how to curry favor with your boss," noted Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity.
Overall the Pence PAC has spent at least $160,605.60 at the hotel, which has become a central hub for funneling money to Trump.
Because Trump has neither sold his interests in the Trump Organization nor set up a blind trust, money spent at the hotel finds its way back into his personal accounts.
The money from Pence's PAC will travel the same corrupt pipeline as similar spending from the Republican National Committee, other Republican campaigns, foreign governments, and private businesses.
The relationship between Trump and Pence has often seemed dicey, and Pence's decision to set up a separate "leadership PAC" distinct from the Trump reelection campaign was unusual.
Pence has been assembling what appeared to be a shadow campaign for the presidency that could swoop in if Trump was unable to finish his term. Pence has also repeatedly tried to distance himself from the many scandals in the Trump administration, though evidence shows him playing a central role in the rampant corruption.
But while Pence's PAC was spending all that money at the D.C. hotel, Trump began telling his closest advisors that he wants Pence on the ticket with him after all.
With Trump there is rarely any certainty or consistency — but Pence's continued contributions to Trump's personal bottom line certainly don't hurt his chances to stay on the ticket.
This kind of quid-pro-quo wouldn't even be the most blatantly corrupt element of Trump's presidency, in which rules, laws, and ethical traditions have often been disregarded.
The Pence PAC has emerged as yet another way of improperly adding to Trump's wealth, corrupting the institution of the vice presidency alongside the presidency.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.