Audit Committee Probes into ‘Defund Police’ Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for Rising Personal Security Costs

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes speaks at a rally at John Marshall High School Friday, July 15, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

Wisconsin’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee has launched a probe into “defund police” Democrat Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) for excessive security costs billed to the state.

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,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

On September 15, Sen. Robert Cowles (R), co-chairman of the audit committee, and Rep. John Macco (R), committee vice chair, asked State Patrol Superintendent Tim Carnahan to provide the committee with the security costs for both Barnes and Gov. Tony Evers (D) from July 1, 2021, to August 31. Carnahan has until October 6 to respond.

“Questions have arisen recently concerning perceived rising costs for security protection services of Wisconsin state public officials by the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP), most notably services rendered for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” the letter to Carnahan stated. “Like you, we are concerned for the safety of Wisconsin’s public officials and thank you for your efforts to keep those under your protection safe, however, some have questioned reports regarding costs incurred for protection services provided through the State Patrol.”

But Alec Zimmerman, a spokesman for Johnson, applauded the inquiry by the two members of the legislative audit committee.

“Wisconsin taxpayers deserve answers as to why Lt. Gov. Barnes had the audacity to push the defund the police movement while at the same time using State Patrol as his personal Uber service,” Zimmerman said. “Hopefully, the Legislature’s investigation leads to explanations and the truth.”

Barnes reportedly maintains a high degree of security after stating police departments should be defunded. He also believes police do not prevent crimes.

“Police don’t prevent crimes from happening,” Barnes falsely stated on Real Talk with Henry Sanders. “We don’t live in a surveillance state nor would you want to.”

Barnes has also pushed for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ending cash bail.

During his time as lieutenant governor, Barnes has allowed at least 884 convicted criminals back onto the streets by releasing them on parole, Wisconsin Right Now reported. The massive number of convicted criminals reportedly includes 270 murderers and attempted murderers, as well as at least 44 child rapists.

When questioned in 2018 if he wanted to release half of Wisconsin’s inmate population, Barnes responded, “Absolutely.”

“That’s not something that happens overnight,” he whined. “If you stop sending people back to prison, we can reduce our recidivism rate if we drop the way, you know, we sentence nonviolent offenders. Over time, the prison population will be half of what it is.”

Barnes, who was elected as lieutenant governor in 2018, is one of the most radical Democrats running for office in 2022, though he reportedly does not think of himself as a “progressive” Democrat anymore to “appear less polarizing” in his race against Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Recent polling shows Johnson has surged past Barnes in the polls, leading now by four points. He had been leading Johnson by a moderate margin, but Barnes’s radical record seems to be hurting his election chances.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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