ICYMI: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes Violates the Law… Again

[Madison, WI] – Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is no stranger to public embarrassment for violating the law. From his delinquent property taxes to unpaid parking tickets, Lt. Gov. Barnes has proven that he struggles with both attention to detail and following basic rules — a troubling combination for Wisconsin’s second-in-command.

In the latest installment of Lt. Gov. Barnes’ series of legal flubs, Lt. Gov. Barnes was not only fined $1,600 for a campaign finance violation, but also failed to report his fine correctly, technically committing another campaign finance violation. Since Lt. Gov. Barnes clearly struggles with following the law, it’s clear that Wisconsinites should not trust him anywhere near the process of executing the law.

Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here or find excerpts below.

Bice: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes fined $1,600 for campaign violation
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Daniel Bice
February 10, 2021

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is a big picture guy.

But if Barnes is going to continue his political ascent — he’s thinking about a bid for U.S. Senate — he might have to learn to pay attention to detail.

Case in point:

Barnes’ campaign was fined $1,652 last year for taking too much money from the Wisconsin Working Families Party Political Action Committee, according to campaign records. The settlement was first disclosed but inaccurately described in his July 2020 campaign report.

State law says a candidate for lieutenant governor can take in only $26,000 from a PAC. But Barnes’ campaign received five donations from the left-wing group ranging from $100 to $12,431 in 2018 for a total of $27,652. He is a former national committee member for the Working Families Party.

The first-term Democrat agreed to pay a forfeiture to the state Ethics Commission for the excessive amount.

It’s an especially egregious mistake for someone who has railed about money in politics.

“There’s a very corrupting influence of money in politics, and we’ve seen that for a long time,” Barnes said in a lieutenant governor forum in July 2018. “We wouldn’t be where we are in Wisconsin if it were not for the corrupting influence of money.”

A Republican spokeswoman criticized Barnes for the campaign finance violation, saying it fits of a pattern of mistakes by the lieutenant governor.

In the past, the Milwaukee Democrat has misled people about receiving a college degree from Alabama A&M University. He was delinquent in paying his property taxes on his Milwaukee condo in 2019. And he once was fined $108 and blocked from registering a car because of unpaid parking tickets.

“Mandela Barnes can’t follow laws as basic as paying parking tickets or property taxes, and his own campaign violated campaign finance law?” said Anna Kelly, communications director for the state GOP. “If Barnes repeatedly breaks the law, why should Wisconsinites keep him in a position of public trust?”

Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.