Mike Browne, Deputy Director
We Pay $6,500 to Fly Scott Walker to Omaha, He Get Over $1 Million in Campaign Contributions for Himself, State GOP From Mom of His Host
MADISON, Wis. — In September 2018 Scott Walker charged Wisconsin taxpayers over $6,500 to fly from Madison to Milwaukee to Omaha, Nebraska and back to Madison. On the agenda for the day was a stop in Omaha, Nebraska for a conference hosted by Gov. Pete Ricketts. It turned out to be a profitable endeavor for Wisconsin Republicans as Rickets mother, Marlene, just week later gave a maximum $20,000 contribution to Walker’s campaign and two contributions totaling over $1 million to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
“Mamma Mia. Scott Walker spares no expense when using our tax dollars to give his donors the personal touch,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Eight years ago, it was ‘Wisconsin is Open for Business’. Today, with Scott Walker it’s ‘I’ll Fly, You Buy.'”
According to flight records finally handed over by Walker’s administration Friday afternoon to One Wisconsin Now as part of its continuing investigation of Gov. Scott Walker’s serial misuse and abuse of taxpayer funded state plane usage, on September 11, 2018 a state plane flew Walker and his entourage from Madison to Milwaukee and then on to Omaha, Nebraska and back to Madison. The total cost billed to taxpayers was $6,512.64.
The purpose of the Omaha trip was ostensibly to deliver remarks at a conference hosted by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade and part owner, with other family members, of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. According to state campaign finance filings, shortly after flying to Omaha on the Wisconsin taxpayer dime, Walker’s campaign received a legal maximum $20,000 contribution from Ricketts family matriarch, Marlene. She then cut $10,000 and $1,000,000 checks for the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW).
In his most recent campaign finance filing, Walker’s campaign reported receiving over $1.33 million in transfers from the RPW just last week.
Ross said,“Turning a taxpayer funded flight on a state plane to Omaha and back into over $1 million in campaign contributions for himself and his party is a good return on an investment of state resources, for Scott Walker.”
One Wisconsin Now has documented multiple instances of Walker’s usage of the state plane crossing the line from unseemly to illegal, using stage tax funded flights to appearances in which he made remarks attacking his election opponent and to film a tv ad for his campaign. A previously-released accounting of the serial misuse and abuse of the state plane by Scott Walker since he ended his run for president in Fall 2015 is available here.