Breitbart News obtained a letter Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short sent Thursday to House Oversight and Reform Committee Elijah Cummings (D-MD), rebuking claims that the vice president’s trip served to benefit President Donald Trump or the Trump Organization.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Cummings sent a letter earlier in September to White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney, U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray, Vice President chief of staff Short, and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg regarding Pence’s stay at the Trump hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland.
Chairman Cummings said in the letter to the officials that the Democrat-led Oversight Committee “does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies.”
The Maryland congressman also wished to know how much the trip cost the “American taxpayer–or benefited the Trump organization.” He added that the trip might amount to a “conflict of interest” and “waste of taxpayer funds,” or even a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
In a letter obtained by Breitbart News, Short replied to Chairman Cummings, rebuking the notion that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) unfairly spent taxpayer dollars during his stay at the Trump hotel in Doonbeg.
Short said to Cummings:
Please be advised that the Department of State approved all lodging accommodations for the Vice President and OVP staff related to the September 2019 trip to Poland, Ireland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. OVP did not book or reserve any of the hotel accommodations in connection with this trip, and no funds appropriated to OVP were expended during the trip. Consistent with historical practice related to official foreign travel, the Department of State approved the obligation of its funds and signed all necessary documents to secure hotel and lodging accommodations tin Poland, Ireland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.
Pence’s chief of staff also noted that the Department of State “conveyed to OVP in August (prior to the trip) that the general room rates offered by Trump International Doonbeg were competitive and even less expensive than those offered by the Radisson in Limerick, Ireland.”
Short noted that any use of taxpayer dollars during the visit in Ireland “was in furtherance of strengthening diplomatic ties between the two countries.” He explained that Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar asked that the vice president bring his mother, whose family hails from Doonbeg, and that the prime minister asked Pence in March 2019 to visit Doonbeg to further a “working dialogue rooted in a shared heritage.”
During the trip to Ireland, Pence participated in several bilateral meetings, cultural visits, and “discussions on government and commercial activities in Ireland.”
Further, Short insisted that there were no additional costs “incurred by the United States government for their travel” as the result of the vice president’s mother and sister traveling with Pence.
“The Vice President personally paid for the lodging expenses incurred by his mother and sister on the trip,” Short noted.
Short noted that the Department of State, Department of Defense, and United States Secret Service “may maintain” documents that might detail “itemized costs” for Pence’s trip, as well as the costs for President Trump’s June 2019 trip to Trump Doonbeg.
Chairman Cummings’ inquiry into Pence’s trip has incensed those close to the White House.