The Indiana Economic Development Corporation raises money from businesses seeking to curry favor with the state's governor to pay for trips overseas and across the country. The Star's Tony Cook and Chelsea Schneider obtained a list of those donors and reveal them in a news story titled, "Who's Paying Pence's Travel Tab," after they say they made repeated public records requests of the administration for that information before obtaining it. More than 50 donors contributed $2.19 million to the IEDC's foundation to finance the trips during the most recent 18-month period and the vast majority of that money came from public utility companies. Advance Indiana previously observed that only utility company executives were recently included on a 2-day junket Pence took to New York City where the governor entertained dozens at a suite rented for a New York Yankees game.
Donors have paid for Gov. Mike Pence to travel overseas, rent luxury sports suites, lobby lawmakers and fly to Iowa ahead of its first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contest.
But those donors and the amounts they’ve given have been a closely guarded secret — until now.
For the first time, the Pence administration has released a list of donors and the amounts they’ve contributed to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation, a nonprofit subsidiary of the state’s economic development agency. The disclosure comes in response to repeated public record requests from The Indianapolis Star.
The list reveals that more than 50 companies, trade groups and governmental entities contributed $2.19 million to the foundation from January 2014 to June 2015.
The majority of that money — about $1.7 million — came from utility companies. Duke Energy and its foundation gave the most — more than $456,000. Other contributors included lobbying firms, industry groups, regional economic development agencies, universities and large Indianapolis companies such as Eli Lilly and Co. and Dow Agro Sciences.
Pence has tapped the money for six international trade missions to China, Israel, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, where, for example, he hosted about 30 business executives and government officials at a hospitality suite during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ season opener . . .The Pence administration defends the use of private donors to pay for the trips as a way of saving taxpayers money while bringing new jobs and investments to Indiana. Critics note the obvious--the businesses paying for the trips gain an unfair advantage in obtaining access and the ability to influence the official actions of Gov. Pence and the IEDC, which doles out tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer-paid subsidies and incentives to lure businesses to invest in Indiana.
While Advance Indiana welcomes The Star's scrutiny of this practice, we wonder why they weren't bothered when Gov. Daniels or Mayor Ballard did the same thing. Ballard, in particular, has little to show for his nearly ten overseas junkets. Advance Indiana believes Ballard brokered that horribly one-sided and illegal deal with French billionaire Vincent Bollore's company for Blue Indy during one of those trips that took him to Paris. Who paid for that trip? Does The Star have any plans to get answers to those questions for us? It might explain why Ballard has broken so many laws that have cost Indianapolis taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars during his two terms in office to reward his political cronies.
Here's a full list of the donors during the period analyzed:
Indiana Michigan Power $424,000
Duke Energy $381,654
Northern Indiana Public Service Company $260,000
Indianapolis Power & Light $157,500
Duke Energy Foundation $75,000
Purdue Research Foundation $50,000
Hoosier Energy $37,500
Indiana Municipal Power Agency $28,883
Primesport Inc. $19,950
Indy Partnership $19,250
Circle City Tickets $18,900
Indy Chamber $16,230
Dow AgroSciences $15,000
Eli Lilly $15,000
Indiana Corn Marketing Council $15,000
Indiana Soybean Alliance $15,000
Michiana Partnership, Inc. $12,500
Bose McKinney & Evans LLP $12,150
Krieg Devault LLP. $12,000
Accelerate West Central Indiana $11,000
American Electric Power $10,000
CountryMark Refining and Logistics LLC $10,000
EDC of South West Indiana $10,000
EDC of Wayne County $10,000
Farm Bureau Foundation $10,000
Farm Credit Mid-America $10,000
University of Notre Dame $10,000
Northeast Indiana regional Partnership. $10,000
South Central IN USA Econ. Dev. Group $8,000
Town of Fishers $8,000
J. Albert Smith, Jr. (Chase Bank) $7,500
South Central IN Economic Development Reg $7,500
Ivy Tech Community College $6,713
Old National Bank $5,843.73
Indiana Beef International LLC $5,650 Radius Indiana, Inc. $5,500
Aerodyn Engineering Inc. $5,250
CGB Enterprises, Inc. $5,000
Cole Hardwood $5,000
Farbest Foods, Inc. $5,000
Gutwein Popcorn Company, LLC $5,000
Ice Miller $5,000
Indiana Pork Producers $5,000
Pokagon Band of Potawatami Indians $5,000
S&C Resale Company $5,000
Total donations: $2.19 million