Walker would have to pay back state for campaign expenses under Democrat proposal
By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin Democrats are backing a proposal to recoup campaign expenses racked up by state officials seeking national office.
Sen. Dave Hansen's bill would apply to all politicians, but is clearly aimed at Gov. Scott Walker. "It is wrong that taxpayers should pay for the governor to bolster his national image," said Hansen.
The plan would require any state official running for higher office to submit an itemized monthly travel form to the Government Accountability Board. All campaign-related expenses would have to be reimbursed within 30 days, according to the bill's co-author, Rep. Katrina Shankland.
"This legislation includes the cost of security incurred during travel while pursuing higher office, which has risen astronomically under the governor," said Shankland.
In April, the governor's political action committee Our American Revival said it would reimburse the state of Wisconsin for costs related to the candidate's political travel, which includes money spent on hotels, flights and rental cars.
Laurel Patrick, the governor's press secretary, said that the administration "has provided, and will continue to provide, detailed information regarding security costs, including cost breakdowns for travel expenses and mileage." She also pointed out the Dignitary Protection Unit provides around-the-clock security for Walker, just as it has for previous governors, regardless of the event purpose.
Senator Hansen said the governor's security costs in 2014 were $2.4 million. It's not known how much of that was for Walker's travels abroad to Great Britain, Israel, Germany, France, Spain and Canada.
During the state budget debate, Democrats on the Legislature's budget writing panel brought up an amendment to require quarterly reports of Walker's travel. That motion failed in the Republican-controlled committee.