Wisconsin Public Radio

Johnson Attacks Barnes For Security Costs

Costs for Lt. Governor's security rose, but decisions for this made by state protection officers.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Aug 31st, 2022 10:54 am
Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes.

Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes.

At a press conference Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson seized on reporting from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Democratic Senate nominee Mandela Barnes had security for 10 times as many hours as his predecessor while he’s been lieutenant governor.

Johnson spoke to reporters after a speech to veterans at the American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee.

Barnes’ security detail cost about $608,000 during about his first three years in office, adding up to over 14,000 hours of work. That averages out to over 13 hours per day, including weekends and holidays.

“I would say that’s pretty much an abuse of state resources and taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” Johnson said.

But according to Barnes’ campaign communications director, Maddy McDaniel, Barnes doesn’t make choices about his security.

“Security decisions for the lieutenant governor are made by Wisconsin’s Dignitary Protection Unit,” she said. “We follow their guidance to ensure the safety and security of the lieutenant governor and the people he encounters across the state, which is of the utmost priority to the campaign.”

The Dignitary Protection Unit, which is part of the state patrol, is responsible for protecting elected officials, including the governor and lieutenant governor.

The reporting comes as the cost of security for public officials ramps up nationwide amid increasing threats. Spending on security among congress members surged after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the capitol in Washington, D.C.

In Wisconsin earlier this year, retired Juneau County Circuit Judge John Roemer was shot and killed in his home. The gunman had a hit list that included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Whitmer was also the focus of a foiled kidnappings plot that has led to federal charges against several people, including some from Wisconsin.

Johnson says he wants to ‘save’ Social Security, Medicare

Before he took hits at Barnes over security costs, Johnson used his remarks to veterans to defend his position on Social Security and Medicare, saying the real threat to these programs is the federal deficit.

“I have never said I wanted to put Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits on the chopping block, or cut them,” he said. “I want to save these programs. I want to stop mortgaging our children’s future.”

Johnson has said he wants to make Social Security and Medicare part of the discretionary budget process. That means Congress would have to approve funding for the programs each year.

Barnes has criticized that position.

“Self-serving, multimillionaire senator Ron Johnson wants to strip working people of the Social Security and Medicare they’ve earned,” Barnes said in a statement. “Wisconsinites pay into Social Security through a lifetime of hard work, and they’re counting on this program and Medicare.”

Listen to the WPR link here

Sen. Ron Johnson targets Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for high security costs was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio

5 thoughts on “Johnson Attacks Barnes For Security Costs”

  1. nickzales says:

    Anything to distract people from Johnson’s record of calling for vigilantes to attack people, licking Putin’s boots in Moscow, offering up snake oil treatments for covid, voting to enrich himself, and being part of a violent conspiracy to overthrow the government. Johnson can run but can’t hide from a dismal record worse than Joe McCarthy.

  2. ringo muldano says:

    Ron Johnson is one sick POS… He belongs in prison with the whole lot of WI rCon seditious conspirators.

  3. misch7 says:

    Johnson hires a fake elector, who he said is low level campaign worker that answers phones. Why did he pay her $3500 in TRAVEL EXPENSES if she is answering phones. Sounds like a lie to me or the standard Trump answer of I hardly know her.

  4. Mingus says:

    The Republicans continue to ramp up the hostility towards any person or entity that opposes their actions in the culture war. Threats to judges, elected officials, and public employees have become pretty routine. I would think that Assembly Speaker Voss has a security detail after the comments Trump made about him. As is his style, Ron Johnson is making an issue out of solution to a condition he helped create.

  5. kaygeeret says:

    Spot on last sentence Mingus!

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