Barnes Abuses Taxpayers, Racks Up Unprecedented Security for Personal Use

OSHKOSH  – The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailed how Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has taken advantage of taxpayers and used state-funded security for his personal trips – including thousands of dollars on out-of-state marathons and concerts. All told, Barnes averages over 13 hours of security a day and ran up a $608,000 tab through November of last year. 

“Mandela Barnes wants to defund the police and supports the abolish ICE movement, but he’s more than happy to use the State Patrol as his own personal Uber service,” said Johnson campaign spokesman Alec Zimmerman. “The hypocrisy of a guy who has such open contempt for law enforcement abusing taxpayer resources is stunning and it is a prime example of the arrogance of a career politician who sees taxpayer money as his own.”

Read the full story here or find excerpts below.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes had 10 times more hours of security than his predecessor

Daniel Bice

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

August 29, 2022

If Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is elected to the U.S. Senate, he’s in for a big change in security and transportation.

In his first three years as the state’s No. 2, Barnes has averaged more than 13½ hours of security protection a day — including weekdays, weekends and holidays — at a daily cost to the state of $660 for patrol officers’ wages. That’s more than 10 times the number of hours as his predecessor.

For instance, the state provided 54 hours of security to Barnes at a cost of nearly $2,300 in state salaries over three days in October 2021 when he ran in the Chicago Marathon. This figure doesn’t include other expenses for the security detail, such as lodging or mileage.

Two weeks later, Barnes racked up 10 hours of security costs while attending a one-hour Sunday fundraiser for his Senate campaign at The Newport in Milwaukee and participating in a 30-minute virtual event for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. No other events are listed for the day on his calendar.

Personal and campaign events are blacked out on his official calendar, but many still appear on his Facebook page and other websites.

Overall, the cost of providing security to Barnes during roughly his first three years in office came to a whopping $608,528 for a total of 14,370 hours of work. The state provided records to the Journal Sentinel for the period from January 2019 to Nov. 20, 2021.

That’s more than 10 times the number of hours of security detail that former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch received during her entire second term from 2015-’18. The total number of hours of protection that Kleefisch had over that four-year period was 1,377, an average of less than one hour per day. 

April 2019, Barnes flew to Washington, D.C., with two members of the State Patrol to attend a climate change conference and to participate in the Credit Bureau Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. On the day of the race, the two security officials put in 32.5 hours of work at a cost of $1,121 for their salaries that day.

Security has also accompanied Barnes for other personal activities.

For instance, on May 16, 2021, a Sunday, the only event on his calendar was a trip to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. He is listed as having 10 hours of security that day. There are several other Sundays in which he was accompanied by patrol officers to attend church.

As for campaign activity, those events are redacted on his official calendar. But some still can be identified by other means.

On July 20, 2021, five events are blacked out on his calendar. But this was the day that Barnes announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate, racking up 16.5 hours of security protection at a cost of more than $600 that day.

Barnes apparently started receiving security protection even before he took office. I ran into him at a concert at the Rave on Dec. 1, 2018, a month before he was inaugurated, and he introduced me to his security staffer.