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Pence refuses to answer questions on political ‘puppetry’ and big donations

Trump VP, who counts Koch brothers among his donors, struggles with questions about Clinton pay to play claims and allegations against Trump Foundation

Donald Trumps running mate refused to answer questions about big donations and alleged political puppetry on Sunday, despite Republican accusations of a pay to play system run by the Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton.

Last month, Trump accused Clinton of using her family-run foundation as a pay-for-play conduit through which to exchange political favors, saying: If its true, its illegal. Youre paying and youre getting things.

He has also labeled Clinton the most corrupt candidate ever and mocked fellow Republicans for soliciting money from wealthy donors such as the Koch brothers.

I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc from the Koch Brothers, Trump wrote last year. Puppets?

Appearing on CBSs Face the Nation on Sunday, Indiana governor Mike Pence struggled with questions about his running mates allegations, saying the businessman was not against big money in politics.

I dont think that thats the point that hes really been making, Pence said. I think his point is that weve had a system in this country that really has benefited the favored few. That, you know, from Wall Street to Washington DC, weve seen, weve seen money flowing in to politics.

And and the and the American people really, really end up, really end up on the losing side one time after another.

Host John Dickerson noted that Pence has himself received support from the Koch brothers, one of whom is a top donor to him and whose political groups avidly support the governors plans to reduce government regulation. Pence did not reply directly.

Well, look, Donald Trump has his own way of speaking in public life, he said. And, look, in a political campaign, things can get a little rough and tumble.

The Koch brothers have not backed Trump this year, instead focusing their election spending on the House and Senate.

Pence insisted that when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, that pay-to-play system is going to come to an end.

Trump is himself under investigation for possible illegal quid pro quo practices. His Trump Foundation illegally gave $25,000 to a political group connected to Floridas attorney general, Pam Bondi, while her office was considering an investigation into whether Trump University defrauded people of tens of thousands of dollars.

Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 fine for the illegal donation, but New Yorks attorney general announced this month that he would investigate the Trump Foundation, which may also have committed illegal self-dealing practices.

Bondi declined to investigate Trump University, but the now defunct organization is subject to a federal lawsuit brought by former students. The case is due in court in San Diego on 28 November, 20 days after the presidential election.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Pence struggled with questions about possible malfeasance at the Trump Foundation. After host Chris Wallace corrected the governors false claim that the Trump Foundation has responded to those questions and had corrected reporting by the Washington Post, Pence deflected any further questions to the Trump family.

The family can answer all of those questions about that specific instance and others, Pence said.

The Trump campaign has accused the Post of inaccuracies but failed to specify or explain what is incorrect.

Trump has also bragged publicly about exchanging donations for favors. At a debate last year, he bemoaned a broken system by citing his own experience within it.

I give to everybody, he said. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.

On CBS, Pence did not broach his running mates controversial history, instead speaking at length about their shared vision to rebuild our military, revive our economy, make appointments to our supreme court that will uphold our constitution.

Dickerson eventually ended the exchange.

All right, governor, he said, well have to leave it there with the issue of puppetry unresolved.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/25/mike-pence-donald-trump-political-donations-koch-brothers