Mike Browne, Deputy Director
Sticks Taxpayers With $1 Million Plus Annual Tab for His Personal Legislative Staff
MADISON, Wis. — For 2019 Republican Speaker of the State Assembly Robin “Boss” Vos will have a million dollar staff, literally. As reported by state media, Vos has dramatically expanded the number of staff he will have working for directly him in his legislative office. According to information obtained by the office of the Assembly Democratic Leader, the total compensation for Vos’ newly expanded personal staff will exceed $1 million a year.
“Robin Vos runs a ‘my way or the highway’ operation in the state Assembly, demanding fealty from his fellow Republicans and tribute from the special interests if they want to get what they want,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He’s just upped the ante by sticking taxpayers with a $1 million plus tab for an unprecedented entourage of 14 personal staffers in his Assembly office.”
State records show Vos, as Speaker of the Assembly, has assigned himself 14 staff positions. To date he has filled 11 of his authorized slots at a projected cost to taxpayers of over $1.14 million in salary and benefits for the year in 2019.
According to state records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, Vos has not been shy about taking other perks of public office, courtesy of taxpayers. Since entering in the Assembly in 2005, through the first half of 2018, Vos had taken over $127,000 in taxpayer funded per diems, payments to legislators intended to cover expenses for days they spend in Madison on legislative business.
Vos has also snagged over $30,000 in taxpayer funded travel since ascending to the Assembly Speakership including jaunts to destinations like New Orleans, Los Angeles and even China. When travelling to less exotic locales, such as driving around his Burlington area district, Vos has tapped taxpayers for nearly $13,000 more in expenses.
Taxpayers aren’t the only ones who have picked up the tab for Vos’ expenses and travel. Vos has been subsidizing his lifestyle with first class travel on junkets paid for by payday lenders and other special interests. Economic interest statements he is required to file by state law revealed he took $13,000 in free travel in 2017 and $57,000 since 2014. A frequent traveling companion, Cliff Rosenberger, was forced to resign his position as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives amid an FBI inquiry into his activities including a European junket with Vos.