Walker Travel Bills Provide Reason for Taxpayer Protection Act

Questions remain as to true cost of Governor’s campaign travel costs

(Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said questions still remain about the true cost to taxpayers relating to the Governor’s campaign travels demonstrating the need to pass legislation that would reform the way in which such travel is reported and paid for by incumbent politicians running for higher office

“The Governor has racked up millions of dollars in security costs over the past year and half during a time that he was doing a great deal of travel for his presidential campaign.  Not just to foreign countries but all across the country.  It’s difficult to believe that with the size of the security detail he had and the number of trips he took that the amount he and his campaign provided is an accurate accounting,” said Hansen, senate author of the bill.

Questions have been raised as to whether or not the records provided by the governor’s campaign represent all the travel costs paid for by state taxpayers.

“The lack of transparency we continue to see from the Governor and his campaign regarding how much of state taxpayer dollars were really spent on his campaign travel just goes to show that the Taxpayer Protection Act is needed,” said Hansen.  “Taxpayers deserve a full accounting of the costs and activities of any state elected official who is running for high office—especially when their campaigns require them to travel outside the state and the country.”

Under the proposal, any state official who is running for – or even considering running for – higher office would be required to submit a monthly travel form with the GAB that explains what costs were incurred and who paid for them. The form would include basic details such as the travel itinerary and itemized lists of expenses – including travel and security costs – and whether it was for a campaign-related trip or a government one. 

The legislation would also hold elected officials accountable by requiring that any campaign costs incurred by taxpayers be reimbursed within 30 days of the filing of the report and if the costs are not reimbursed within a month, a $500 per day penalty will be assessed until paid in full. 

“It has been over 6 months since the taxpayers were told these bills would be paid.  And they’re still waiting.  If the Taxpayer Protection Act were law, the taxpayers and Governor Walker would be protected because there would be a full accounting of what the campaign owes the taxpayers and the money would already be repaid.  Passing our bill would at least make sure taxpayers wouldn’t be left waiting for payments from the next campaign.”