Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (D) has racked up over half a million dollars in security costs in two years, according to public records.
According to records obtained by Fox News, state taxpayers footed a $587,281 security bill for Barnes, who is now running for the Democratic nomination to unseat incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in November. Barnes, who says he does not support defunding the police, has received support from groups and leaders critical of law enforcement.
Barnes was provided with a police detail for 8,868 regular hours, 4,900 of overtime hours, and 203 holiday hours, Fox News reported. The money was spent on security for Barnes over a period of almost two years, from January 7, 2019 until November 6, 2021.
This hefty price tag for Barnes’ security was larger than his predecessor, Rebecca Kleefisch, who is now running for the Republican nomination for governor. During his first two months in Madison, he had nine times more hours of security protection than Kleefisch did in her last year in office, according to the Associated Press.
State officials at the time said the increase was a decision of the Wisconsin State Patrol, while Wisconsin Republican Party spokesman Charles Nichols accused Barnes of using “the State Patrol as his own personal chauffeur service.”
The Daily Wire reached out to the Barnes campaign for comment.
The Senate candidate has faced scrutiny over his positions on law enforcement because of the leftist groups backing his campaign and his ties to politicians like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
In 2020, he criticized “over bloated budgets in police departments” and was photographed in 2018 holding a “Defund ICE” shirt. Barnes has said that he does not support defunding the police, but his ties to Left-wing groups remain.
“Not completely done away with. We need to invest more in neighborhood services and programming for our residents, for our communities on the front end. Where will that money come from? Well, it can come from over bloated budgets in police departments,” Barnes said during an interview with PBS Wisconsin when asked if he agreed with completely defunding police departments.
Groups backing Barnes that support defunding the police include the Center for Popular Democracy and the Working Families Party. However, a spokeswoman for the Barnes campaign said in February that he had not necessarily endorsed the positions of the groups supporting him.
“These groups are endorsing the lieutenant governor, not the other way around,” said Maddy McDaniel.
Barnes became the presumptive Democrat nominee last week after his major opponents, including on-leave Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, dropped out.
The primary is on August 9.
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