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Ethics Complaint Filed Against Ron Johnson for Abusing Taxpayer Dollars PDF Print E-mail
Elections, Elected Officials, Political Parties
Written by WisDems Press, Hannah Menchhoff   
Thursday, 29 September 2022 18:26

ron-johnson-quibblesComplaint alleges Johnson used Senate resources for political smear attacks against challenger Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes.


MADISON, Wis., — Today, a new report details a new ethics complaint that has been filed against Ron Johnson for using his Senate twitter account for campaigning – a clear misuse of taxpayer dollars. The complaint shows that Johnson used his Senate Twitter account to attack Governor Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.

American Independent: Ethics complaint alleges Ron Johnson used Senate resources for political attacks

Key Points:

  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is facing another ethics complaint after using his official social media accounts to smear his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

  • It asks the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to open an investigation into whether Johnson violated federal law and Senate rules by using official Senate resources for campaign purposes.

  • "In particular, Senator Johnson's official website, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts posted content advocating for the people of Wisconsin to vote against Senator Johnson's 2022 general election opponent," Thal alleges.

  • "On August 23, 2022, Senator Johnson posted to all three accounts that the 'people of Kenosha are still suffering because of Gov. [Tony] Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes Lack of leadership.'"

  • johnson-smears-2022
  • Despite Johnson's claims, the 2020 Kenosha protests were largely peaceful.

  • Johnson has repeatedly tried to falsely blame the protests on Evers and Barnes, even after PolitiFact debunked most of his claims.

  • Thal's complaint also notes that Johnson's posts expressly urged "the people of Wisconsin" to hold Evers and Barnes "accountable for their actions," which he said was tantamount to asking voters to defeat them.

  • "Couching electoral messaging in requests to hold an election opponent 'accountable' cannot absolve an underlying campaign purpose," the complaint asserts.

  • The official Senate Ethics Manual notes, "Official resources may only be used for official purposes…It is thus inappropriate to use any official resources to conduct campaign or political activities." [p. 153]

  • This is not the first time Johnson has been accused of unethical behavior.

  • In May, he came under fire for using taxpayer funds to reimburse 19 flights back to Washington, D.C. from his Fort Myers, Florida, vacation home.

  • While experts said this was likely legal, Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck told the American Independent Foundation at the time that the reimbursements were "surprising" and showed "bad judgment."

  • Days later, another complaint was filed alleging Johnson and his wife may have broken Senate rules by making $280,000 worth of cash gifts to his now-former chief of staff and his wife.
 
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