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As I See It

More transparency needed for political travel spending



It is not uncommon for politicians to travel, at taxpayer expense, while they are in office. But maybe it is time for us to get a better handle on just what that is costing taxpayers. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used $147,000 of taxpayer money to travel to Europe and Canada. The money paid for flights, hotels, meals, transportation and parking. Governor Walker claims the trips were international trade missions designed to stimulate Wisconsin’s economy. But the trips just happened to occur at the same time Walker was looking to build foreign policy experience as he mounted his failed run for President. Walker also billed taxpayers an additional $125,000 for his security detail during his international travel. He has vowed to repay that money, but so far less than half has been paid back. A group of Wisconsin lawmakers are now floating a bill designed to provide more transparency to just what taxpayers are spending on political trips. The bill would require all state officials who are even considering running for higher office to submit a monthly travel report to the Government Accountability Board. Candidates would have to list the costs, and who paid them. That is a good idea. They also should have to list just what taxpayers got in return for their pricey junkets, but I’m guessing the answer to that is zero.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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