Michael Pence is the current Vice President of the United States. He was the 50th Governor of Indiana and a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana's 2nd District and 6th District between 2001 and 2013. In the 111th Congress, his colleagues elected Pence to serve as the Republican Conference chair, which he did until 2011. Pence describes himself as a devout Evangelical Christian, an early supporter of the Tea Party, and a social conservative.
- 1 Koch Favorite Pence Courts Donors, Launches Fundraising Arm
- 2 Controversial Pence-Kobach Voting Commission "Lays the Groundwork for Mass Voter Purging"
- 3 2016 Republican Candidate for President Donald Trump Chooses Pence to Be His Running Mate
- 4 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 4.1 Pence Holds Secret Meeting with Charles Koch, June 2017
- 4.2 Through Pence, Koch Network Establishes "Beachhead" in Trump Administration
- 4.3 AFP's President Tim Phillips Expresses Love for Mike Pence
- 4.4 Pence to Appear at Freedom Partners Big Donor Retreat
- 4.5 Koch Operative Marc Short Joins Trump-Pence Campaign
- 4.6 Pence Attends Republican Governors Association at Koch Mansion
- 4.7 Pence Is "Grateful" for Americans for Prosperity and David Koch
- 4.8 Koch Network Funding
- 5 Controversies
- 5.1 Pence Signs Extreme Anti-Abortion Bill
- 5.2 Pence Signs into Law Repeal of the Prevailing Wage
- 5.3 'Religious Freedom' Restoration Act Legalizes Discrimination
- 5.4 Pence Hails Indiana Supreme Court Ruling Upholding 'Right-to-Work' Law
- 5.5 ALEC Bill Rejecting EPA Standards on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fails to Pass in Indiana
- 5.6 Pence Slashes $1 Billion from State Budget
- 5.7 Pence Compares SCOTUS Ruling on the Affordable Care Act to 9-11
- 5.8 Pence Criticized Pres. Bush for Signing Civil Rights Act of 1991
- 6 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 6.1 Pence Speaks at 2016 ALEC Conference
- 6.2 Pence Appoints Former ALEC Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy to Cabinet
- 6.3 Pence Wrote Introduction to 19th Edition of ALEC’s Report Card on American Education
- 6.4 Pence Lobbies for ALEC through Emails to State Legislators
- 6.5 Pence Delivers Keynote Speech at ALEC's 2013 State and National Policy Conference
- 7 Positions as U.S. Representative
- 8 Background Information
- 9 Contact Information
- 10 Articles
- 11 References
Koch Favorite Pence Courts Donors, Launches Fundraising Arm
Vice President Mike Pence began meeting with influential donors during a series of private dinners at his official residence starting several months into 2017, according to the New York Times ("soliciting political contributions in government buildings is illegal," New York Magazine noted). He also launched a fundraising PAC called Great America Committee in May 2017, sparking controversy suggesting a stronger possibility of Trump's impeachment.
The committee would be run by Nick Ayers, an advisor to both Trump and Pence, and Marty Obst, a Pence aide. No funds had reportedly been raised or spent as of July 13, 2017. The mid-year FEC reporting deadline is July 31, 2017.
Long-time Trump political adviser Roger Stone tweeted, "No Vice President in modern history had their own PAC less than 6 month into the President's first term. Hmmmm." Then-vice president George H.W. Bush did, however, form a fundraising committee while he was preparing for his 1988 presidential run, according to Bloomberg. But experts called the current circumstances and timing highly unusual.
Republicans insisted that "the new Pence PAC... should not be viewed as a hint at a future Pence bid," according to Business Insider. A source close to the vice president told NBC that the PAC would "provide resources for the vice president to actually support candidates who are supportive of the president's agenda." But Politico reported, "Not since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, in which Donald Trump bragged about groping women by the genitals, have some conservatives thought so seriously, if a bit wistfully, about two words: President Pence."
Matt Mackowiak, a GOP strategist and CEO of the Potomac Strategy Group, explained the fundraising moves this way: "Pence is going to be in very high demand... And part of the reason why this is necessary is that Trump and Pence are different. Pence is going to have much lower negatives, nobody is attacking him. He's very well-liked among conservatives, very liked among Republicans. He's a well-liked figure among Republican elected officials. He's very well-liked among donors. He's just going to be a very attractive surrogate for this entire cycle."
Donors by whom he's well-liked include, prominently, the Koch brothers, with whom Pence has deep ties. Koch operative Marc Short became Pence's communication advisor during the 2016 campaign, among other connections. See "Ties to the Koch Brothers" below for more, including the numerous Koch operatives in the Trump administration.
Controversial Pence-Kobach Voting Commission "Lays the Groundwork for Mass Voter Purging"
President Trump created a "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in May 2017. The perfunctorily bipartisan committee is made up of six Republicans (formerly seven) and four Democrats.
Numerous studies have shown that voter fraud is statistically close to non-existent. But as Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach created a national system for checking voter rolls that critics have said allows too many legitimate voters to be purged; and when Pence was governor of Indiana, State Police raided and closed a voter project working to register minority voters.
The Pench-Kobach commission issued a directive to all states in late June 2017 requesting publicly available voter data such as full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, last-four digits of Social Security numbers, and voting history starting in 2006. Critics were appalled: Vanita Gupta, who ran the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration, said that the letter "lays the groundwork for mass voter purging." At least 27 states pushed back. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said in a statement, "I have no intention of honoring this request... [T]here is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia. This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November. At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit against the Pence-Kobach commission and successfully obtained a temporary restraining order on its state information request, calling the commission's plans "without precedent and crazy" and alleging they "would increase the risks to the privacy of millions of registered voters -- including in particular military families whose home addresses would be revealed -- and would undermine the integrity of the federal election system."
2016 Republican Candidate for President Donald Trump Chooses Pence to Be His Running Mate
On July 15, 2016, the Republican nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Gov. Mike Pence would be his running mate. A news conference introducing Pence occurred the next day where, "Mr. Trump referred to the two men as 'the law-and-order candidates,' adding that 'we’re the law-and-order party.' He said that Mr. Pence 'looks good,' and that 'to be honest,' part of the reason for Mr. Pence’s selection was to unify the party. Then Mr. Trump proceeded to mock those Republicans who had opposed him," the New York Times reported.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.
Pence Holds Secret Meeting with Charles Koch, June 2017
Vice President Mike Pence held a secret meeting with Charles Koch the day before the Koch network's regular donor summit in Colorado Springs in June 2017, according to The Hill. The meeting was not on his official schedule, and a spokesman for the vice president's office denied that he would be meeting with the Koch brothers' network earlier in the day during which the 50-minute meeting occurred. Also attending were Marc Short, President Trump's director of legislative affairs and Pence's former chief of staff; Marty Obst, who leads Pence's new political action committee; James Davis, a spokesman for the Koch brothers' network; Mark Holden, Koch Industries' general counsel; Tim Phillips, president of the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity; and Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute.
Through Pence, Koch Network Establishes "Beachhead" in Trump Administration
The Koch brothers' political donor network "rivals the Republican National Committee in size, scope and budget." And while Charles Koch "has been openly critical" of President Trump since he entered the Republican Presidential Primary, according to Politico, refusing to back his presidential bid, Pence has a much longer history with the Kochs, who reportedly had picked Pence for president.
So it is through Pence that the network has "established a beachhead" in the Trump administration: Senior Trump staffers with Koch ties include Kellyanne Conway, Trump's former campaign manager and now White House advisor, who consulted for Americans for Prosperity Foundation and a couple of its regional chapters and was a board member of the Koch-backed Independent Women’s Forum; Marc Short, Trump's director of legislative affairs and Pence's former chief of staff, who previously led the Koch brothers' dark money non-profit Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce; Donald McGahn, Trump's campaign attorney and now White House counsel, who advised Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, and several other outside Koch groups; Ann Donaldson, McGahn’s chief of staff, worked for McGahn’s law firm and consulted for some of the same Koch groups, according to The Intercept; and "other former members of Koch advocacy groups have joined the administration as top aides to Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and Veterans Affairs chief David Chulkin, among others," according to The Daily Caller. (The appointments were disclosed in personal financial statements released by staffers and reported on by the New York Times.)
AFP's President Tim Phillips Expresses Love for Mike Pence
In an interview with Lauren Windsor of The Undercurrent outside the 2016 Republican National Convention, Americans for Prosperity's President and Koch lieutenant Tim Phillips expressed his "love" for Gov. Pence, but declined to endorse the Trump-Pence ticket.
Pence to Appear at Freedom Partners Big Donor Retreat
The Guardian reported that Gov. Pence would be a "featured guest" at the Koch network's semiannual donor retreat to be held at a resort in Colorado July 30-August 1, 2016. Along with Pence, other featured guests at the Freedom Partners event include: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), and Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ).
Koch Operative Marc Short Joins Trump-Pence Campaign
Koch operative Marc Short was to continue his support of Pence as he joined the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign as Pence's communication advisor. Previously, Short was advising Pence in Indiana. Short had left his role as president of the Koch-backed Freedom Partners in February of 2016 to serve as a senior advisor to the Presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
At an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) two-day summit in Dallas in 2014, Pence praised Short:
- "Marc is a friend and we had the opportunity to work together when I was serving in the Congress of the United States, and I have immense respect for his integrity and his judgment.”
Pence Attends Republican Governors Association at Koch Mansion
On April 17, 2016, Gov. Pence attended a Republican Governors Association (RGA) luncheon at David Koch's mansion in Florida with "about 60 wealthy backers." In addition to Pence, Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN), Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) were in attendance, according to The Washington Post.
Pence Is "Grateful" for Americans for Prosperity and David Koch
- "I’ve met David Koch on several occasions. I’m grateful to have enjoyed his support and the support of many of the people that support Americans for Prosperity across Indiana and across this country."
At the same event, The New York Times reported that Pence called AFP "the finest grass-roots organization in the United States of America."
Koch Network Funding
Over the years, the Koch network has contributed large amounts of money to Gov. Pence. In terms of individual donations, David Koch's $300,000 makes him the third largest donor and Senior Vice President of AFP and General Counsel of Koch Industries Mark Holden's $202,500 makes him the sixth. The largest contributor to Gov. Pence is the Republican Governors Association (RGA), which has given $2,691,425 to his campaigns. The Kochs are some of the largest funders of the RGA.
Before running for Vice President in 2016, Gov. Pence received support for his gubernatorial reelection from Americans for Prosperity in the form of TV spots praising his rejection of Pres. Obama's Clean Power Plan. As the Indianapolis Star reports, though,
- "The ad, however, ignores the fact that if Indiana does not submit a plan to comply with the federal rule, the Environmental Protection Agency will impose one on the state. So any of the negative effects the group says will result from the Clean Power Plan would come regardless. And the utility industry has told the Indiana Department of Environmental Management it’s better to have the state figure out how to comply."
Pence Signs Extreme Anti-Abortion Bill
Gov. Pence signed into law one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the county in March of 2016. HB 1337 prohibits women from having an abortion "based on a fetal diagnosis of physical or mental disability, including Down syndrome." The law also requires that aborted fetuses be cremated or buried, The Daily Beast reported.
Opponents to the bill argued that not only is it extreme in intent but it is also difficult to enforce because "a sole motivating factor would be nearly impossible to prove."
Pence Signs into Law Repeal of the Prevailing Wage
On May 6, 2015, Pence signed a repeal of the common construction wage, otherwise known as prevailing wage. The controversial House Bill 1019 was introduced by American Legislative Exchange Council members Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) and Rep. Jerry Torr (R-39) and strongly resembles the ALEC model bill, Prevailing Wage Repeal Act. The law will lower wage standards and undermine the competitive position of union or higher-wage contractors.
'Religious Freedom' Restoration Act Legalizes Discrimination
Pence legalized discrimination against LGBT people in March of 2015 with his signing of the 'Religious Freedom' Restoration Act. The law expanded the existing RFRA, providing a legal defense for business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers.
As ProPublica reported,
- "The backlash was swift and harsh. The governors of Connecticut, New York and Washington — and mayors across the country — banned non-essential travel to the state for public employees. The NCAA hinted that it might pull out of future events just a week before the Final Four was set to begin in Indianapolis. The San Francisco-based computer firm Salesforce 'canceled all programs' that required travel to Indiana, Angie’s List pulled out of a $40 million, 1,000 jobs expansion, and the top executives from Yelp and Apple wrote letters decrying the law and warning other states against following Indiana’s lead. The governor’s approval plummeted. Just weeks after signing the law, Pence signed an amended version of the law that was intended to provide protection for gays and lesbians."
Pence Hails Indiana Supreme Court Ruling Upholding 'Right-to-Work' Law
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the state's 'right-to-work' law on November 6, 2014. The law was passed under former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, but was ruled unconstitutional by Lake County Judge George Paras. Indiana House Bill 1001 is a direct copy of ALEC's "Right to Work Act"
Pence said in a statement following the ruling, "Today's unanimous decision by the Indiana Supreme Court upholding Indiana's right to work law is a victory for the freedom of every Hoosier in the workplace. By this ruling, our Court has reaffirmed Indiana law that no Hoosier may be compelled to join a union as a condition of their employment but every Hoosier is free to join a union if they choose."
ALEC Bill Rejecting EPA Standards on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fails to Pass in Indiana
Despite the support of Gov. Pence, Indiana House Concurrent Resolution 44 rejecting EPA standards on greenhouse gas emissions failed to secure enough votes to move to his desk. The 2014 bill was directly copied from ALEC's model bill entitled Resolution in Response to EPA’s Plan to Regulate Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act.
Pence Slashes $1 Billion from State Budget
In March of 2014, Gov. Pence signed into law the largest tax cut in Indiana history. The tax cut was opposed by many communities in Indiana "because the business personal property tax provide[d] more than $1 billion a year in revenue for cities, counties, towns, schools and libraries," the Indianapolis Star highlighted. The Star detailed that "Senate Bill 1 would reduce the corporate income tax to 4.9 percent from 6.5 percent by 2021, making it the second-lowest in the country."
Pence Compares SCOTUS Ruling on the Affordable Care Act to 9-11
In 2012 following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, Jake Sherman of Politico reported that Pence "likened the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Democratic health care law to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks" in a closed door House GOP meeting. When asked to comment by Politico, Pence responded, "My remarks at the Republican Conference following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless. I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced and I apologize."
Pence Criticized Pres. Bush for Signing Civil Rights Act of 1991
In a 1992 opinion piece while serving as Executive Director of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, Mike Pence criticized Pres. George H.W. Bush for signing the the Civil Rights Act of 1991. "The act was supported by 93% of the Senate and 88% of the House of Representatives. Only 33 Republicans voted against the bill. The bill was passed in response to a handful of cases in the Supreme Court that made it harder for women and minorities to win discrimination cases against employers," Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed writes.
"Whether it was Bush's cynical reversal of the 'no new taxes' pledge or his vacillation on the 1992 (sic) Civil Rights (quota) Act, he has managed to alienate a sizable portion of the Reagan Republican coalition," wrote Pence.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Pence Speaks at 2016 ALEC Conference
Former ALEC member and 2016 GOP candidate for Vice President Gov. Mike Pence spoke at the 2016 ALEC annual conference in Indianapolis. He was to deliver the opening luncheon address and to speak as part of a special presentation entitled, "Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity, a Project of the Center for Education Reform and the Jack Kemp Foundation. After Trump named Pence his running mate, he spoke to the attendees of the ALEC conference on July 29, 2016 instead.
Pence Appoints Former ALEC Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy to Cabinet
Pence Wrote Introduction to 19th Edition of ALEC’s Report Card on American Education
In 2014, Gov. Pence wrote the Introduction to the 19th Edition of ALEC’s Report Card on American Education. In it, Pence touted the "20,000 students" who used vouchers in 2013 and the "35,000 students" attending charter schools.
Pence Lobbies for ALEC through Emails to State Legislators
On April 11, 2014, Gov. Pence sent out an email to state legislators urging them to join ALEC. He writes,
- "As a governor, I cannot say enough how important ALEC is in my state and across the nation. Indiana is fortunate to have many of our legislators as members of ALEC. I am writing today to ask you to consider membership in one of the nation’s leading policy organizations, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)."
Pence Delivers Keynote Speech at ALEC's 2013 State and National Policy Conference
Gov. Pence delivered the keynote address at ALEC’s State and National Policy Conference in Washington DC in 2013. In his speech Pence praises ALEC, “I'm really here to pay a debt of gratitude. I can say I was for ALEC before it was cool. I ran a little state-based think-tank back in the early 1990s. I know how this group rose up."
Positions as U.S. Representative
Pence has long been an advocate of earmark reform. He voted against the $139.7 billion Transportation-Treasury spending bill in June 2006, and in favor of a series of amendments proposed that same month by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to strip other members’ earmarks from the federal budget. Pence, however, has secured several of his own earmark projects. He earmarked $500,000 for the “Transit Acquisition and Intermodal Facility Project” in his state, as well as $250,000 for construction of a park in Portland, Indiana. Pence also secured earmarks for inclusion in a fy2007 Labor-Health and Human Services bill. This included $200,000 for both Ball State University’s Center for School Innovation in Muncie, Ind. and to the Madison County Community Health Center in Anderson, Ind. In addition, he also secured $100,000 for Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, Ind., his hometown. When confronted, Pence’s spokesman confirmed the projects, stating, "Mr. Pence stands by his earmark requests."
In 2006 Pence's support for a compromise bill on immigration caused a backlash in his district and among prominent conservatives. As The New York Times described,
- Mr. Pence — named last year’s Man of the Year by the conservative weekly Human Events — has looked to some conservatives like this year’s Benedict Arnold.
- Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum called his plan "a sick joke." Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail pioneer, threatened to punish politicians who supported it. Pat Buchanan, editor of The American Conservative, likened the betrayal to a scene from "The Godfather."
Pence voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
- House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia -Ranking
- House Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
- Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property
Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- House Committee on Agriculture
- Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
- Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture
- House Committee on International Relations
- Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- House Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Task Force on Antirust - 18
- Subcommittee on Courts the Internet and Intellectual Property
- Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism and Homeland Security
Pence was born June 7, 1959 in Columbus, Indiana. He was educated at Hanover College and Indiana University. He was a lawyer and radio talk show host before entering politics.
Office of the Governor Mike Pence
200 W. Washington St., Rm. 206
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Email: Go here
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