Pence NFL trip cost Indianapolis police dept more than $14K: ethics watchdog

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Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence stand during the national anthem prior to the start of an NFL football game

Vice President Mike Pence stopped by an Indianapolis Colts game in October but left after several players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States.

During an October game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, Pence made a show to leave the stadium after he saw players kneel for "The Star-Spangled Banner", later tweeting that he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem".

IMPD says it cost $14,163 to provide protection for Pence while he was in town.

The protests by multiple National Football League teams and players were first started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in response to police brutality and racial injustice against people of color, primarily black Americans.

Trump chimed in on Twitter, claiming he had told the Vice President to prepare for a boycott. President Donald Trump later tweeted to confirm that he "asked" Pence to leave if any players knelt.

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"The tone is set at the top when it comes to this administration's disregard for ethics", Bookbinder said.

According to the records received in response to an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) filed by CREW, the local police cost for the stunt was $14,163.36.

An earlier CNN estimate pegged the Air Force Two flight costs of the Pence trip that included the Colts-49ers game, which took the vice president from Las Vegas to Indianapolis to Los Angeles, at about $242,500.

"At a time when the administration is proposing massive budget cuts for the federal government, it is especially inappropriate to use taxpayer dollars for a political publicity stunt", Bookbinder said.

Questions were raised about inappropriate spending on air travel by government officials when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used a government plane to view the solar eclipse from Fort Knox. CREW has since requested a government-wide investigation into private jet travel by agency officials.

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