MADISON, Wis. - A liberal advocacy group says Republican Gov. Scott Walker used the state airplane to make 869 flights since he dropped out of the presidential race in September 2015, including 11 trips of less than 64 miles.
One Wisconsin Now compiled public records on flight data to release the findings Monday. The flights between September 2015 and April cost taxpayers about $818,000.
"After 25 years in office, 8 years in the governor's mansion and running for president where billionaires were literally flying him around the world on their private planes, Scott Walker no longer has the slogan 'I'm the brown bag guy,' Scott Walker's new slogan is 'I'll fly you buy,'" said One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross.
“@ScottWalker has used and abused public funds and violated the public trust. He’s operated as if the state airplane is his personal vehicle and available for him whenever he wants to for whatever he wants.” pic.twitter.com/sRXQiBcPve— One Wisconsin Now (@onewisconsinnow) August 20, 2018
During his first term, Walker and members of his cabinet spent a little more than $250,000 a year to travel on state planes, according to the report. Over the 31 months examined, the annual average is about $316,000.
In response, the goveronr's press secretary issued a statement defending the use of planes and saying Walker had traveled for funerals, disaster area visits and meetings at schools.
Statement from @GovWalker spokeswoman calls the report on plane use "a gross mischaracterization of Governor Walker's dedication to visiting with the people of Wisconsin." #news3 pic.twitter.com/GjxlBOsjsg— Jessica Arp (@news3jessica) August 20, 2018
"This attack is a gross mischaracterization of Governor Walker's dedication to visiting with the people of Wisconsin," said press secretary Amy Hasenberg.
When the issue was raised in 2014, the Walker administration released records from former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's last two years in office. Those years, 2009 and 2010, he averaged $240,000 a year on state planes.
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