Last year, Pence spent $348,255 from his campaign committee, plus $25,472 from his PAC, even though it was a non-election year. The Post writes:
Pence sought reimbursement for 293 meals in 2005, for a total of $9,806. Most were at fast-food or family-style restaurants, including Wendy's, Arby's, Ruby Tuesday, and various pancake houses and pizza parlors, as well as convenience stores and airport concessions based in Anderson, Ind. Ninety-four of the charges totaled $10 or less. He also paid $4,082 for a 1998 Oldsmobile minivan that he drove throughout his east-central Indiana district.
Pence even sought reimbursement from his campaign for a $1 meal from a local gas station, which his staff believes was for a bottle of water, according to the Post. Pence's staff defended the expenses this way:
When Mike Pence campaigns, he campaigns as if he's in a tight race," said William A. Smith, Pence's chief of staff. He said that his boss prefers one-on-one meetings to big groups, which explains the numerous small charges, and that items are often billed to the campaign, as opposed to the official account, to avoid potential ethics questions. "If he's doing political work, that's going to be part of his campaign budget," Smith said.
The FEC rules give lawmakers broad discretion on how they spend their campaign funds. Some items are specifically banned, the story notes, including home mortgages, clothing, personal automobile expenses, country club and health club memberships, vacations, household food, nonpolitical admissions to concerts and sporting events, and tuition. However, lawmakers are allowed to accept free travel paid by lobbyists, which often amounts to a free vacation to exotic destinations.