No Gray Area Here: Walker Broke the Law When He Used State Plane to Film Campaign Ad
MADISON, Wis. — On July 17, 2018, Gov. Scott Walker used a state plane, at a cost to taxpayers of $2,017.66, to fly from Madison to Rhinelander to film a television ad for his re-election campaign. One Wisconsin Now today filed a formal complaint with the State Ethics Board and requested and investigation by the Dane County District Attorney for Walker’s violation of state law by using public resources for his political campaign.
“There is no gray area here,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker broke the law when he used a state plane, at state taxpayer expense of over $2,000 to fly to Rhinelander to film a campaign commercial.”
State flight records obtained by One Wisconsin Now show that on July 17 Walker flew to Rhinelander on a state plane at a cost of $2,017.66. That same day in nearby Three Lakes, Walker’s campaign filmed campaign commercial footage featuring Walker himself at the Three Lakes School District as well as at the Three Lakes Diner. One Wisconsin Now confirmed the July 17 school filming date by Walker and his campaign through an open records request with the school district and from social media posts featuring Walker at a local business, also featured in the campaign ad.
State statutes are clear in prohibiting elected officials from using public resources to benefit their political campaigns. The law requires elected officials like the Governor to reimburse taxpayers at least 50 percent of the costs of their use state transportation if they engage in any political activity on the day they are traveling.
The campaign ad in question was released July 24 and is part of a $4.6 million in television ad buy by Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
With the new records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, from May 1 to July 31, 2018, the total amounts of Walker’s misuse and abuse of the state plane as part of his political rehabilitation tour have risen higher. Between September 21, 2015, when Walker ended his run for President, and July 31, 2018 he took an astounding 993 flights at a net cost to taxpayers of over $940,566.
The updated flight records, which One Wisconsin Now is still combing through for additional malfeasance on the part of the governor, are available at onewi.org/ScottWalkerAIR.