Empower Wisconsin | Aug. 5, 2022
MADISON — If Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes still has any interest in defunding the police, perhaps he should start with his taxpayer-funded security detail.
According to a Fox News Digital investigation, the presumptive Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate racked up a nearly $600,000 bill for his State Police detail over two years, while he was embracing the defund the police movement.
Barnes’ total bill between Jan. 7, 2019 and Nov. 6, 2021, was $587,281— funded by taxpayers.
Liberal Gov. Tony Evers’ second-in-command recorded 8,868 regular hours of police protection, 4,900 hours of overtime protection, and 203 hours of holiday protection, records requests show.
Barnes, looking to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh), dwarfed his Republican predecessor’s spending with his two-year, half a million-dollar bill.
A Wispolitics review in May 2019 found the state’s Dignitary Protection Unit logged nine times as many hours providing Barnes protection as it did for Rebecca Kleefisch, then-Gov. Scott Walker’s lieutenant governor, in the final year of her tenure in office. Kleefisch, a Republican, is running for governor.
Wispolitics’ review early on in Barnes’ tenure as lieutenant governor showed he had racked up nearly 900 hours of DPU service in his first months in office, including personal and political events.
“Meanwhile, Kleefisch received protection on seven days over all of 2018, compared to the 47 that DPU officers accompanied Barnes between Dec. 28 and March 1. The total cost to protect Kleefisch (in 2018) was $4,370 for 95.5 hours,” according to the website.
As Barnes was counting on police protection, he courted the support of the anti-cop movement.
“Defunding the police only dreams of being as radical as a Donald Trump pardon,” he tweeted in July 2020.
Defunding the police only dreams of being as radical as a Donald Trump pardon.
— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) July 11, 2020
As the Washington Free Beacon reported, the single largest source of contributions to Barnes’ U.S. Senate campaign last year was from Lead the Way 2022, a far left joint fundraising committee. Lead the Way is benefactor to “some of the most radically left congressional candidates” and vehement supporters of defunding police.
The lieutenant governor also spoke at a major meeting for the Center for Popular Democracy — a far-left group that supports defunding the police and claims Israel targets Palestinians with “violent attacks.”
“Defund police. Defund police states,” the group tweeted in May of last year. “Defund militarized occupation. Defund state-sanctioned violence.”
Barnes’ campaign has said the candidate does not support defunding the police. He’s certainly been trying to get rid of the evidence, like deleting his photo in which he’s smiling as he holds an Abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) T-shirt.