State News

Madison Democrats seek investigation into Walker’s travel expenses

Madison Democratic Reps. Chris Taylor and Terese Berceau requested an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s flights around Wisconsin after a group accused the governor of using state funds for these trips.

Image By: Photos by Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Katie Scheidt

After a progressive group accused Gov. Scott Walker of using taxpayer funds to film a campaign commercial, Madison state representatives are requesting an official audit of some of his travel expenses.

A report by One Wisconsin Now indicated Walker used $2,017 in state funds to fly to Rhinelander on July 17, the day he filmed a new ad for his gubernatorial reelection campaign.

“Scott Walker is using public resources for his political purposes,” One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said. “Scott Walker’s ‘I fly you buy attitude’ leaves Wisconsin taxpayers footing the bill while he flies the state to try to rehabilitate his image and stave off more political losses.”

The group also pointed out $12,867 the governor spent on flights to the Green Bay area six days in a row, between June 6 and 12, just before a contentious special election in the area.

Walker’s office denied using any tax funds for political purposes. They claimed the governor was in Rhinelander for an official event before filming the campaign ad.

“It’s a shame when a liberal Madison attack group has such a hard time getting the media to cover its false attacks that it must take sham legal action in order to get publicity,” Walker’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Our campaign not only paid for all politically arranged travel in accordance with the law, we went above and beyond, paying more to make sure there was no cost to taxpayers.”

Despite Walker’s denial, the accusations led Reps. Chris Taylor and Terese Berceau, D-Madison, to file a request for an official audit into the governor’s flight expenses.

“It appears he has used this form of taxpayer-supported travel for convenience rather than necessity — including flying very short distances, visiting Eau Claire on two consecutive days, and being ‘fetched’ by the plane from a haircut to attend an NRA conference,” the Madison Democrats wrote in their letter to the Audit Committee.

The Madison Democrats reference the report’s findings of up to $800,000 worth of “excessive and unnecessary” flights around the state to justify a comprehensive evaluation of the governor’s use of a state plane.

“The Legislature, and the Audit Committee specifically, has a commitment to act as loyal stewards of taxpayer dollars,” the letter reads. “It is our duty to ensure the efficiency of state government, and hold those who are violating that efficiency accountable.”

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