Pence NFL trip cost Indianapolis police dept more than $14K: ethics watchdog

Pence NFL trip cost Indianapolis police dept more than $14K: ethics watchdog

Vice President Pence's trip last month to see an Indianapolis Colts game cost the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department more than $14,000, according to a government ethics watchdog.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said records show Pence's brief appearance at a Colts game last month cost the local police $14,163.35.

That does not include the cost to fly to Indianapolis for the game. It is estimated that it cost $242,500 for Pence to fly from Las Vegas to Indianapolis for the game, and then to Los Angeles, where he went following the game.

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“The tone is set at the top when it comes to this administration’s disregard for ethics,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said.

“Vice President Pence should know better than to use taxpayer money to make a rhetorical point, but carelessness with taxpayer money seems to be a common theme with senior administration officials.”

Pence left the game after several players on the visiting San Francisco 49ers kneeled in protest during the national anthem. He said at the time he wouldn't support an event that "disrespects" the country's flag or its soldiers.

Shortly after, President Trump tweeted that he asked Pence to leave the stadium if any players kneeled.

Bookbinder said there is a difference between what "you can get away with legally and what is ethically right."

"At a time when the administration is proposing massive budget cuts for the federal government, it is especially inappropriate to use taxpayer dollars for a political publicity stunt," Bookbinder said.

Later last month, a group of House Democrats urged Pence to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of his travel to Indianapolis for the game.

In a letter to Pence, five House Democrats demanded the vice president pay back the expenses of attending the game.