Oil magnate gave Pence tickets to NFL game he walked out of
Vice President Pence received NFL tickets from oil magnate Forrest Lucas and tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl valued at $15,000 from Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, according to the vice president’s most recent personal financial disclosure form.
The gifts do not violate ethics rules, as most gifts to the vice president are not subject to the federal gift ban.
The tickets given to Pence include the game in Indianapolis last October, between the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts, that Pence and first lady Karen Pence left early after players kneeled in protest during the national anthem. Disclosures show that Lucas, the founder of Lucas Oil, which owns the naming rights for the Colts’ stadium, gave Pence the tickets, which hold a value of $745.
President Trump said in a tweet that he had told Pence to leave the game early if any players kneeled. Nearly two-dozen players for the visiting team, the San Francisco 49ers, knelt on the field during the anthem.
The trip to Indiana for the Colts-49ers game also drew criticism for its cost.
To attend the game for less than an hour, Pence diverted a trip from the West Coast that CNN evaluated as roughly costing an additional $242,500.
He flew from Las Vegas, where he spoke at a prayer walk that honored victims of the mass shooting that had occurred a week before, to Indianapolis for the game and then back to a GOP political event in Los Angeles. (The Republican National Committee covers some of the return flight to California.)
The financial disclosures for Pence, released on Wednesday, cover all of 2017. Federal officials are required to submit disclosures annually to illustrate their wealth, including the values of assets and liabilities.
Pence has a minimum net worth of about $402,000, according to a calculation by The Hill, including a total of at least $100,000 in eight Parent PLUS student loans accrued over the last five years. Pence has three children.
The Pences also have anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 in credit card debt.
The forms are imperfect because they record values of liabilities in assets in vast ranges. Gifts from those outside of government are also part of the disclosures. Federal rules say that gifts should be recorded at the highest possible amount or value.
In February 2017, Pence attended the Super Bowl, held in Houston, with two veterans who had been wounded in duty and their guests. Texans owner McNair provided Pence with three tickets. Pence’s wife and daughter Charlotte also made the trip and attended the game.
The vice president’s office had no comment.
Other gifts listed on the form include three tickets to the American Ireland Fund National Gala in Washington last year, worth $3,000, from the American Ireland Fund.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway gifted Pence with two tickets to the Indianapolis 500, worth $1,000, and Ford’s Theater in Washington gave the vice president two tickets to its annual gala, also worth $1,000. Hanover College, located in Indiana, gave Pence a $250 lamp and a chair worth $450.
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