Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has used a corporate-supported nonprofit subsidiary of the state economic-development agency to pay for official trips abroad, writes the Indianapolis Star. The Indiana Economic Development Foundation has raised nearly $2.2 million since January 2014 from companies, trade groups, and governmental entities, with most of the money coming from utility firms.
Mr. Pence tapped the fund to subsidize six international trade missions and other travel, including a trip to Iowa last year, before he ruled out running for president. The foundation also paid for a two-day East Coast trip last month, during which the governor hosted 65 people at a ballgame at Yankee Stadium.
Watchdog groups questioned the governor's use of gifts from firms heavily regulated by the state, but his administration said the trips have yielded significant investment and job growth. "I can't speak for those donors, but I imagine they donate because they see the value of the state's economic-development efforts and support the continued growth of business and job creation in Indiana," said Abby Gras, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the foundation's parent.