One Wisconsin Now: Scott Walker’s brief presidential campaign followed by even shorter taxpayer-funded flights

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
mike@OneWisconsinNow.org
(608) 444-3483

MADISON, Wis. — Among the most egregious examples of Gov. Scott Walker’s “serial misuse and abuse” of the taxpayer-funded state plane are the ridiculously short flights he took at times, charging taxpayers to fly he and his entourage distances as short as 24 miles from Appleton to Green Bay.

“Scott Walker has used and abused public funds and violated the public trust,” said Joanna Beilman-Dulin, One Wisconsin Now Research Director, who investigated Walker’s plane travel. “Scott Walker has treated the state plane as his personal campaign shuttle.”

After his disastrous run for president, Gov. Scott Walker admitted in an interview that he needed to rehabilitate his political image in Wisconsin to have a chance at continuing his 25-year political career. One Wisconsin Now’s investigation of state records reveals Walker’s use and abuse of taxpayer resources, deploying the state airplane for over 950 flights from September 21, 2015 through August 2018 at a cost in excess of $900,000, as he mounted his over two year long campaign to try to repair and rehabilitate his political image.

An sample of the outrageously short flights Walker charged taxpayers for as part of his three-year political rehabilitation campaign:

Appleton to Green Bay – 24.2 miles, 40 minute drive
Kenosha to Milwaukee – 24.2 miles, 50 minute drive
Green Bay to Shawano – 29.5 miles, 45 minute drive
Madison to Watertown – 30.1 miles, 50 minute drive
Waukesha to Lake Geneva – 30.5 miles, 45 minute drive
Madison to Baraboo – 34.2 miles, 55 minute drive
Oshkosh to Green Bay – 37.9 miles, 55 minute drive
Madison to Janesville – 39.1 miles, 50 minute drive

“In 2010, Scott Walker campaigned for governor by bragging about how he drove an old Saturn wagon and packed his own ham sandwiches for lunch,” said Beilman-Dulin. “Eight years later, career politician Scott Walker has chucked his brown bag and is flying the state plane distances that you take your kids on when you go for a weekend bike ride.”

When One Wisconsin Now released its research on August 20, including the “Scott Walker Air In-flight Magazine,” Walker took to Facebook with a 200+ word rant against the organization. Walker could not refute a single piece of One Wisconsin Now’s research about his abuse of the plane, including:

  • Walker charged taxpayers $2,017 to fly the state plane to Rhinelander to film a campaign commercial. Records obtained show Walker’s office set up a bogus “official visit” weeks after setting up the campaign commercial filming locations. One WI Now has filed a request for criminal investigation with the Dane County District Attorney’s office and with the state election regulators.
  • Walker had an empty state plane flown from Madison to Milwaukee to pick him up after a haircut and then fly him north to a National Rifle Association conference at a cost of $2,586.
  • Walker flew the state plane from Madison to Green Bay and back on a Saturday to attend a funeral and did so in order to be able to attend a Badger football game at a cost of $1,755.
  • Walker even took the short flight from Madison to West Bend in May 2017 so he could attend a “Walk With Walker” event in the area. He literally flew to take a walk, at a cost to taxpayers of $3,122 for that and the rest of his air travel that day.

One Wisconsin Now’s full database of Scott Walker plane research is available here.

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