WASHINGTON — Personal financial maneuvers nearly ended Mike Pence’s political career before it even began.

In 1990, during an unsuccessful bid for Congress, Pence used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses, including his mortgage, his wife’s car payment, a personal credit card, parking tickets, groceries and golf greens fees.

Federal Election Commission documents show that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a complaint against Pence and three other candidates.

At the time, Pence defended the expenses, saying he took a 30 percent pay cut to run for office. The year before he ran, Pence, a lawyer, reported earning more than $75,000 and held about $50,000 in stock.

“I’m not embarrassed that I need to make a living,” Pence said at the time.

Pence’s campaign didn’t dispute paying the personal expenses but argued they were allowed under federal law.

The FEC deadlocked 3-3 over whether his costs were legal.


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