scott walker in a hole
scott walker in a hole
scott walker in a hole

Scott Walker’s Gubernatorial Campaign Spent Big Money While He Ran for President

Did Reckless Spending Lead Him to Desperate Move to Tap State Campaign Funds to Pay Bills for Federal Political Ambitions?

MADISON, Wis. — The reckless spending of Gov. Scott Walker’s Presidential Campaign drove him from the race a mere 70 days after officially announcing his candidacy and left him with a reported debt of $1 million. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news report based on One Wisconsin Now’s review of Walker’s state campaign finance report raises disturbing new questions about whether in his desperation for cash to fuel his political ambition Walker tapped his state campaign account to pay the bills.

“There’s a pretty clear picture of what happened here,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker’s reckless spending in pursuit of his presidential ambitions bankrupted his federal campaign. In desperation he resorted to questionable if not prohibited tactics, using state campaign funds for expenses any reasonable person would conclude were for his run for President.”

As reported, Walker’s gubernatorial campaign raised over $500,000 in the last half of 2015 but spent almost $1 million and ended the year with a mere $20,000 in the bank. His state campaign reported spending in excess of $100,000 on digital media advertising in national publications and on social media like Twitter and the music service Pandora between July 20 and October 6. Walker also dropped $133,000 on a website redesign during roughly the same time.

A campaign spokesperson alleged that Walker, who has not confirmed he will run for re-election in 2018, was simply spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more than he was raising in 2015 to maintain the “top form” of his state campaign. Walker, who won election in November 2014 spent scant time in the state of Wisconsin doing his job as Governor in 2015, was an officially announced presidential candidate from July 13 until September 23.

Ross noted that if Walker’s campaign is to be believed he either entered the 2016 Presidential race expecting he would lose or he has not been forthright when he alleges he has not decided on running for election in 2018.

Among the questionable expenses during or in the immediate aftermath of his federal campaign uncovered by One Wisconsin Now’s review of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign filings are:

  • $3,689.42 to Amazon.com in Seattle, WA for online advertising on 10/2/15;
  • $35,000 to Breitbart News Network in Beverly Hills CA for online advertising on 10/2/15;
  • $33,847.07 to Connectivist Media LLC in Milwaukee, WI for online advertising on 8/5/15;
  • $4,488 to Connectivist Media LLC in Milwaukee, WIf or online advertising on 10/6/15;
  • $5,000 to HuMn Behavior LLC in Washington DC for online advertising on 11/13/15;
  • $18,760.00 to Pandora Media Inc in Chicago, IL for online advertising on 9/18/15;
  • $4,639.92 to Politico in Arlington VA for online advertising on 11/3/15;
  • $4,000 to Townhall Magazine in Nashville TN for online advertising on 8/5/15;
  • $4,202.34 to Twitter, Inc in San Francisco, CA for online advertising on 8/18/15;
  • $4,202.34 to Twitter, Inc in San Francisco, CA for online advertising on 9/11/15;
  • $5,698.20 to On Point Digital in Houston, TX for website development on 7/22/15;
  • $2,739.44 to On Point Digital in Houston, TX for website development on 9/11/15;
  • $5,000 to Optimizely Inc in San Francisco, CA for website development on 8/5/15;
  • $5,000 to Optimizely Inc in San Francisco, CA for website development on 9/18/15
  • $112,500 to Politicode in Carmel, IN for website development on 7/20/15;
  • $500 to Politicode in Carmel, IN for website development on 9/11/15
  • $1,875 to Politicode in Carmel, IN for website development on 9/11/15;
  • $57,000 to New River Research Institute, LLC in Winston-Salem NC for IT-campaign software on 8/5/15;
  • $6,300 to New River Research Institute, LLC in Winston-Salem NC for IT-campaign software on 8/18/15;
  • $6,300 to New River Research Institute, LLC in Winston-Salem NC for IT-campaign software on 10/6/15; and 
  • $9,300 to New River Research Institute, LLC in Winston-Salem NC for IT-campaign software on 11/2/15

He concluded, “The excuse that huge campaign expenditures in 2015, while he abandoned Wisconsin to run for President, were in anticipation of a 2018 gubernatorial run is laughable. A career politician like Scott Walker knows better than this, you amass a war chest three years out from the campaign instead of draining it.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.