Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has been keeping a database of Governor Scott Walker’s flights since dropping out of the presidential election in 2015.
The database includes 869 flights during that time, many over distances of under 40 miles.
One Wisconsin Now is characterizing the use of the state plane and taxpayer dollars as wasteful, but the Walker administration says the many flights are a sign of the governor’s commitment to meeting with his constituents.
The liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now is coming down hard on Walker for what they see as frivolous spending of taxpayer dollars. Walker has spent $818,000 on flights since dropping out of the presidential race three years ago.
The group’s leader Scot Ross says Walker’s image has been warped since he started campaigning for governor in 2009. He became known on social media during that time for posting pictures of his simple brown bag lunches, usually a ham sandwich or two with some cranberry juice. Ross says, “After 25 years in office, 8 years in the Governor’s Mansion, and running for president where billionaires were flying him literally around the world on their planes, Scott Walker no longer has the slogan, “I’m the brown bag guy.” Scott Walker’s new slogan is, “I’ll fly, you buy.”
Ross called out many of the shorter flights as being a waste of taxpayer dollars. Many of those flights were less than 40 miles, includes ones from Madison to Janesville, Baraboo and Watertown.
But Walker spokesperson Amy Hasenberg told the Cap Times that Walker’s flying habits are a testament to Walker’s devotion to visiting constituents around the state. She called the research a “mischaracterization” of Walker’s dedication to meeting with Wisconsinites.
Ross says although many of the flights could have been to do legitimate state business, the use of a plane to go short, in-state distances takes up too many taxpayer resources.
Ross says as a governor who’s made it his goal to reduce government spending, the amount Walker has spent using state planes is wasteful. “Let’s put it in context. This guy is drug testing people to get their unemployment benefits, he’s drug testing people to get food stamps, and for the first time in American history, attempting to drug test Medicaid recipients. And yet he has spent $818,000 to fly around the state on the state plane. Walker faces state department of public instruction leader Tony Evers, who is running against him as a Democrat this November.