- Mike Pence’s staffers have continued to earn federal salaries after leaving the White House.
- New documents show how the former VP’s transition team is spending taxpayer money.
- Pence bought silver Sharpies and split an internet bill with former President Donald Trump’s team.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
At least seven staffers who worked for then-Vice President Mike Pence in the White House have continued to take home government paychecks after he left office in January, including four who are still on the federal payroll, records show.
The former vice president’s chief of staff, top attorney, and two press secretaries are among the White House officials receiving taxpayer-funded salaries while working for Pence’s post-White House transition office, according to government documents released to Insider under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents reveal previously unreported details about how taxpayer cash is funding Pence’s transition from the vice presidency, including costs for payroll, stamps, silver Sharpies, and a Comcast internet bill split with former President Donald Trump’s transition team.
A law titled the Presidential Transition Act gives outgoing presidents and vice presidents government funding for staff and office space so they can handle correspondence and wrap up the outgoing executives’ affairs after they leave the White House.
The benefit lasts for six months after the end of the administration — meaning the funding for the transition will dry up on July 21. The transition staff will then have to vacate the Arlington, Virginia, office building where they’ve been working.
The records show which of Pence’s former aides remained in his inner circle after the Trump administration, and who could be key players in any potential future bid for the White House. Pence is widely expected to run for president in 2024 if Trump does not seek the Republican nomination. In the meantime, he, like nearly a dozen other ambitious Republicans has been working the national circuit of GOP fundraising dinners, conferences and other high-profile events teeing up a possible 2024 bid.
The members of Pence’s transition team also encompass his longtime top political operatives.
Two of the officials who moved to Pence’s transition team — his former chief of staff Marc Short and former director of strategic initiatives Paul Teller — have also joined the former VP’s new political advocacy group. Pence launched the group Advancing American Freedom in April as part of his return to the political spotlight, after a brief hiatus following the January 6 attack on the Capitol where he was among the targets of an angry pro-Trump mob. Short is a co-chair of the group; Teller is executive director.
Teller appears to have been the top-paid Pence transition aide with an annual salary of $120,000 per year.
Other former Pence staffers who have worked in his transition office are Greg Jacobs, former chief counsel to the VP; Kara Brooks, who served as communications director to then-Second Lady Karen Pence; former press secretaries Devin O’Malley and Katie Miller; and Jonah Wainwright, who served as a Pence operations assistant.
Emails identify Wainwright as the office manager for the Pence transition operation; a Pence spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment about other staffers’ specific roles.
Silver Sharpies, salary hikes
In total, Pence’s team of 11 staffers was expected to earn about $385,000 in salary and benefits from January 20 to July 21, when the formal presidential transition period ends, according to an estimate prepared by the General Services Administration. That includes the pay for seven former Pence White House aides and four other staffers whose names were redacted on the GSA documents; it’s unclear whether those aides also worked in the White House.
The salary levels appear to have somewhat changed from the GSA estimates, however. The records show that Brooks was expected to depart in March and that Miller and Teller left the team in April. Other staffers appear to have received raises from their initial estimated pay.
A March email exchange with GSA shows Wainwright requesting raises for himself and five other transition officials, seeking to boost their annual salaries from $60,000 to $70,000.
At least four of the Pence transition aides who worked for him in the White House appear to still be on the federal payroll: Jacob, Short, Wainwright, and O’Malley, according to a GSA spokesperson. “GSA is not aware of any anticipated departure of employees before the end of the Transition period,” that person said.
The emails also show how the Pence team spent cash on office supplies as it wound down its affairs. They purchased silver Sharpies for $14.71 in March and spent $1,155 for Comcast internet service for six months. That Comcast bill was split with Trump’s outgoing transition team.
Pence’s team was allowed to spend a total of $520,000 in federal cash for his post-White House transition, the GSA documents show. The bulk of that was expected to go toward personnel costs, with another $14,000 estimated for IT, $71,000 for rent, $19,000 for furniture, and $15,000 for office supplies, the records show.
It’s a much leaner operation than Trump’s post-presidential transition, which had access to about $2.1 million in federal funds. Trump’s transition has employed at least 17 people who were expected to receive about $1.3 million in federal salary and benefits from January 20 to July 21, according to a GSA estimate.
Trump aides have been getting paid more, too. With his annual salary of $120,000 per year, Teller appears to have been the only Pence aide that earned more than $100,000 annually. On Trump’s team,12 transition staffers earned annualized salaries higher than $120,000; three of them made at least $170,000, according to GSA documents.
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