Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has been using taxpayer dollars to pay for trips from his Florida vacation home to Washington D.C., spending thousands of dollars this year alone, a new report has revealed.
Johnson, whose net worth is estimated to be greater than $39 million, traveled at least nine times last year to a vacation home he and his family own in Fort Myers, Florida. A company owned by his family trust purchased the home for $1.6 million in 2013.
For his travels to the vacation home, Johnson has personally paid the bill. However, federal records show that the two-term Republican senator has had travel expenses reimbursed for flights from Florida back to the nation’s capital 19 times between 2013 and May 2021. Individual ticket costs for those travels ranged from $227 to $1,152, according to a report from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
While it’s impossible to know the exact amount that Johnson has billed taxpayers, the Journal-Sentinel estimates that it’s between $5,418 and $18,781 this year alone.
Alexa Henning, a spokesperson for Johnson, claimed that he has “never been reimbursed for travel to visit family in Florida but is reimbursed for returning for official business to Washington, D.C.” Henning also said that Johnson’s actions fall in line with Senate Rules Committee guidelines.
Despite claiming last month that he was “for total transparency” and “the truth” when it comes to his personal government spending, Johnson has expressed outrage over the reporting. On Thursday, the senator described the reporting from the Journal Sentinel as “a fully coordinated attack by the [Democratic] Party and their allies in the media.”
“When the truth isn’t on their side, Dems and [mainstream] media lie, distort, and engage in the politics of personal destruction,” he said on Twitter.
Johnson is up for reelection this year. Although he previously promised not to run for more than two terms, he reneged on that pledge earlier this year, announcing that he would run for a third term in this year’s midterm election races.
The Wisconsin senator is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans running for reelection, and for good reason — several scandals and damning misstatements from Johnson (including his anti-science stances on the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic) have rendered him unpopular in the state, with a recent poll showing that only 36 percent of residents in Wisconsin view him in a favorable light, versus 46 percent who view him unfavorably.
On Friday, Johnson falsely claimed that the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two adults were killed, was somehow related to schools discussing racism and the “teaching of wokeness.”