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Taxpayers picking up tab for Barnes’ ‘personal Uber service’

Empower Wisconsin | Aug. 31, 2022

MADISON — While some of his biggest supporters and political allies have called for defunding the police, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has asked Wisconsin taxpayers to extensively — and excessively — fund his State Patrol security detail.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice this week reported Barnes racked up more than $600,000 in Dignitary Protection Unit bills over his first three years in office. Barnes, a Democrat challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh), tallied more than $600,000 in rides and security from the unit between January 2019 and Nov. 20, 2021, according to records. The newspaper obtained the records after Fox News Digital did so earlier this month, reporting on the cost of the security detail through Nov. 6, 2021.

Barnes averaged nearly 14 hours of security detail a day, including weekends — more than 10 times his predecessor, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

Said protection, according to the newspaper, included:

— 54 hours of security to Barnes at a cost of nearly $2,300 in state salaries over three days in October 2021 when he ran in the Chicago Marathon. This figure doesn’t include other expenses for the security detail, such as lodging or mileage.

— In April 2019, Barnes flew to Washington, D.C., with two members of the State Patrol to attend a climate change conference and to participate in the Credit Bureau Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. On the day of the race, the two security officials put in 32.5 hours of work at a cost of $1,121 for their salaries that day.

— 10 hours of security costs while attending a one-hour Sunday fundraiser for his Senate campaign at The Newport in Milwaukee and participating in a 30-minute virtual event for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

— On Sunday, May 16, 2021, he listed as having 10 hours of security for a trip to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. There are several other Sundays in which he was accompanied by patrol officers to attend church.

Johnson campaign spokesman Alec Zimmerman said Barnes likes to hang out with the defund the police and abolish ICE crowds, “but he’s more than happy to use the State Patrol as his own personal Uber service.”

“The hypocrisy of a guy who has such open contempt for law enforcement abusing taxpayer resources is stunning and it is a prime example of the arrogance of a career politician who sees taxpayer money as his own,” Zimmerman added.

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