MADISON, Wis. — When Scott Walker ran for Governor in 2010 his campaign featured an ad in which he touted his driving a 1998 Saturn as proof of his frugality. A new digital ad from One Wisconsin Now opens with that scene, and then cuts to eight years later when, based on their ongoing investigation, Walker has traded in driving himself for being flown around the state for personal, campaign and official business in state airplanes, at taxpayer expense.
“Scott Walker has ditched the ‘98 Saturn and taken to the air,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “His new motto is ‘I fly, you buy’ and our research and ad shows Scott Walker is not the same guy he’s been trying to sell to Wisconsin.”
Since ending his presidential run on September 21, 2015 and undertaking a desperate campaign to rehabilitate his damaged political image in Wisconsin, Walker took to the air flying an astounding 993 times at an expense to taxpayers of nearly $1 million through July of 2018.
An investigation by the New York Times into the air travel of New York Governor Cuomo provides some perspective on how outrageous the frequent flying of Scott Walker is when compared to the chief executives of other states. In 2017, Walker flew nearly three times more than the New York governor, who himself far outpaced the air travel of the governors of the ten most populous states in the nation.
It’s not just the frequency of Walker’s flying that’s raised eyebrows. According to One Wisconsin Now’s research, among the nearly 1,000 flights they reviewed is air travel billed to taxpayers so Walker could get a haircut before attending the funeral of a major donor and an NRA event and so he could get back to Madison from Green Bay on a Saturday in time to attend a Badger football game.
Scott Walker’s air travel has also run afoul of the law prohibiting using state resources to benefit political campaigns when, on July 17, he flew to Northern Wisconsin to film a television ad for his campaign and billed the flight to taxpayers. The governor has refused to reimburse for the flight despite clear evidence that his alibi, scheduling a public event after arranging his campaign schedule, was an attempt to evade the law.
Ross concluded “Getting a haircut, making it to a football game on time, filming campaign ads — these are all instances of Scott Walker’s serial misuse and abuse of flying on state planes. He’s travelled a long way since 2010, and he’s sticking taxpayers with the tab.”
One Wisconsin Now’s research is available to the public at onewi.org/ScottWalkerAIR.