Ladies and gentlemen, we are in for a long campaign season.
It’s only March, and we’re already getting ridiculous articles like this one, which attempts to criticize gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker for buying meals using privately-raised campaign funds for himself, staffers, and supporters. I’m not supporting any specific candidate, so let me add that this article would be preposterous if it were about Mark Neumann, if it were about Tom Barrett, if it were about Russ Feingold, or whomever. (They’re still talking about the epic roast beef sandwich Feingold ate on the campaign trail in 1992. Turned his whole campaign around.)
Let’s just take the most obvious points first:
Walker has been running his campaign for governor for about 18 months – his competitors, Mark Neumann and Tom Barrett, have been running theirs for about six months apiece. So it should shock no one that Walker has spent more money on food and beverages.
Secondly, Walker’s message of frugality deals with the use of public funds – the article states so right there in the first paragraph:
“Republican Scott Walker wants supporters of his campaign for governor to join his “brown bag movement” to show how serious he is about cutting government waste and spending.”
Clearly, campaign funds are privately raised from donors – so it’s a completely different type of expenditure. How Walker spends his campaign money is really between him and the people who have donated money to his campaign.
And it appears almost all of that food and drink spending is either for his campaign workers or to hold fundraisers in order to raise even more money. I would bet somewhere in the vicinity of 100% of Walker’s donors would be okay with his campaign using their money to hold events to raise money from even more people. It may shock the press to know that it takes money to raise money – primarily for overhead for campaign events.
What’s perhaps even most ridiculous is the quote from “good government expert” Jay Heck, who suddenly has become an expert on how Walker should spend his privately raised funds. It’s laughable that Heck is somehow looking out for Walker’s donors. Keep in mind – Heck advocates for taxpayer financing of campaigns, meaning he’d be much happier if Walker was buying his staff sandwiches with your tax money, and not from private sources.
I would have loved to be in the meeting where they cooked up this idea to “expose” Walker’s “hypocrisy.” I know newspapers are having staffing troubles, but there had to at least be someone around to do even the most cursory fact checking.
And, course, what does any of this have to do with how a candidate is going to create jobs or balance the budget? Nothing.