PRESIDENTIAL RACE | Trump-Pence campaign aide stays on Indiana payroll
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A key aide to Donald Trump's vice presidential nominee, Gov. Mike Pence, continues to earn $23,000 a month as Indiana's sole Washington lobbyist even as he has taken a paid position with the Republican presidential campaign and regularly travels with Pence to political rallies across the country during working hours.
The dual, simultaneous employment of Joshua Pitcock is unusual. Legal and ethics experts contacted by The Associated Press said the government lobbyist should be subject to the same ethics rules as rank-and-file state employees, which generally prohibit such double-dipping.
A separate prohibition against moonlighting bans Indiana state employees from accepting outside employment or undertaking activities that are not compatible with their public duties, would impair their independence or judgment, or pose a likely conflict of interest.
The governor's office said Pitcock is exempt from most such rules because the Pence administration treats Pitcock as an independent contractor. It considers his contract for "professional services" different from contracts for "personal" services, which treat contractors as employees.
Pitcock continues to collect monthly lobbying fees – a total of nearly $1 million since Pence won election in 2012 and took office in 2013. Since August, after Pitcock also began working as Pence's policy director for the election, Trump's campaign has paid Pitcock's firm $32,374 for event consulting, according to the latest financial records from the Federal Election Commission. Pitcock told AP that he refunded to Trump's campaign $15,612, which he described as an overpayment caused by an accounting error.
An employment law professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, said the distinction Pence's office was making was "novel under the law" but "a pretty bad argument."