Power companies donated the bulk of dollars for Pence’s economic travels

Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s travels promoting Indiana as a business haven have been paid for by powerful interests that donated over $2.1 million to the state’s economic development efforts.

Figures released recently by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. show utility companies donated the lion’s share of the money. The funds have paid for state officials’ travel, lodging and the wooing of companies that could potentially relocate to Indiana.

Indiana Michigan Power topped the list, kicking in $424,000. Duke Energy donated $381,000. Vectren gave the IEDC $267,000.

Pence, who leaves on a trade mission to Japan later this month, has said the private donations are an effective way of promoting economic development.

But opponents say the donations give already powerful companies an outsized voice in economic development.