Empower Wisconsin | July 18, 2022
MADISON — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes just isn’t that into meeting his legal obligations.
He’s a scofflaw.
But Barnes, Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate, says he’s got a good excuse for his failure to pay his property taxes in 2019: He was just too busy campaigning.
As Empower Wisconsin first reported, Barnes recently brushed off the lapse telling a gathering in Milwaukee, “Who among us?” hasn’t forgotten to pay a property tax bill.
“And, you know, with property taxes, I was late paying them, you know? I was late paying them. Again, who among us?” Barnes said during the candidate meet-and-greet.
In 2019, Barnes stormed out of an interview with Fox6 News when questioned about his two delinquent tax bills at the time. With interest and penalties, Barnes owed $2,225.43, money the tax-and-spend local government desperately needed to pay for an array of liberal initiatives that the Democrat has long supported.
During the Fox6 interview, Barnes indignantly waved off the Fox 6 reporter, saying, “This is Juneteenth, they want to talk about property taxes.”
He said he didn’t know how his late property tax payments became a story.
“Most people I know have a balance and the check is in the mail,” he said at the time. “That was blown way out of proportion.”
Most people who run behind on their property tax payments don’t cite running for lieutenant governor as an excuse.
The lieutenant governor, who hopes to be the Democratic Party’s challenger to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) in November, paid no income tax in 2018 and was on BadgerCare Plus — Wisconsin’s Medicaid program — while his only job apparently was campaigning. He reportedly lived off personal savings. His campaign picked up $15,000 in meals, travel and other campaign-related expenses during his run for lieutenant governor.
Barnes has a history of taking advantage of the system — and taxpayers. While he was raking in $80,000 a year as lieutenant governor and buying another condo property, he failed to pay a fine for several outstanding parking tickets. The scofflaw then couldn’t renew his vehicle registration. He reportedly sold the car and then had taxpayers pick up the tab to have the State Patrol’s Dignitary Protection Unit chauffeur him around the state and beyond.
Barnes’ delinquency speaks to a bigger problem. If he’s too irresponsible to handle his own legal obligations, how on earth can he look after the nation’s?
“The rest of us busy folks pay their property taxes. If you can’t even run your own life, I’ll be damned if you’ll run my,” one Empower Wisconsin Twitter follower commented.
— KnittingEngr (@EngrKnitting) July 14, 2022
Mandela Barnes is a scofflaw.
And he’s Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.