When Scott Walker was running for governor in 2010, one of his campaign slogans was that he would spend our tax money like it was his own. To connive people into thinking that he was all about austerity and frugality, he would brag about driving in an old, beat up Saturn and taking bag lunches to work.
Walker is trotting out that same theme as he is running for president, such as bragging about getting a sweater at Kohl's Department store for a deeply discounted rate (Walker usually claims it was for a dollar, but that amount changes in each speech). This was evidenced by the introduction given by David Bossie of Citizens United at the Freedom Summit in South Carolina, which repeated this utter bullshit.
But the truth is, Walker is not that good with money, whether it was in the Milwaukee County budgets, the state budgets or his own personal finances:
Scott Walker owes Sears up to $50,000.
According to his most recent financial disclosure forms, the governor owed between $10,000 and $100,000 to credit card companies in 2014. One of the cards listed is a Barclay Card, and the other is a Sears MasterCard.
“Over the years, the governor has given $370,000 of his salary back to taxpayers,” emailed AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for Walker’s Our American Revival PAC. “He has two kids in college, parents who live with him, a mortgage, car payments, and small credit card use. All in all, pretty ordinary stuff.”
The governor’s credit card situation, along with other potential 2016 contenders financial circumstances, was highlighted by The Boston Globe—and has provided an opening for some of his critics.
“Both Walker's household and the deficit-laden state of Wisconsin under his purview are spending far more than they bring in,” said Scot Ross of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. “Seems Scott Walker might want to change his slogan to ‘Do as I say, not as do.’”
The Boston Globe noted that Walker has the lowest net worth of any serious presidential contender: -$72,500.
That’s vastly lower than the next lowest, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who clocks in at $330,507.
The Wisconsin governor has made his personal spending habits a central part of his campaign messaging (without any mention of credit card debt, naturally).
On the pre-presidential non-campaign trail, he often discusses his love of bargain-hunting at Kohl’s.
He talks about it so much, in fact, that he makes headlines when he doesn’t bring up the Wisconsin-based, sale-happy department store. Frugality is a part of his political identity, which places him in stark contrast to Mitt Romney. Many on the right hope the GOP picks a candidate without their former presidential nominee’s fancy-pants lifestyle.
For over four years, Walker's salary has been $137,000, nearly triple the average Wisconsin household income.
So where did that money go?
Well, I don't know, but I would say it's safe to say that Walker got himself deep into debt when all of his money was going to pay his silk-stocking attorneys during the Walkergate investigations:
We learned that today when Dan Bice broke the story that Walker has racked up somewhere between $55,000 and $99,999 in legal bills:
But the first-term Republican governor must have retained the pair long before he made it public.Given how reckless Walker is with his own money - not to mention his complete lack of ethics - why would anyone, much less a tight-fisted Tea Party member, want him anywhere near our tax dollars?
As of Dec. 31, Walker owed more than $50,000 to Sidley Austin, a large Chicago-based firm that employs Gallo. Walker also disclosed that he owed between $5,000 and $50,000 to Terschan, Steinle & Ness, the Milwaukee firm where Steinle is a partner.
The state requires public officials and political candidates to disclose in the annual statement any creditor to which they owe more than $5,000. Wisconsin officials and candidates then must say whether the debt is greater than or up to $50,000.