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May 13 2015

Shocker Expose: Scott Walker's Finances Not At All Like Hillary Clinton's!

Charlotte Hays

The Daily Beast had an investigation into GOP hopeful Scott Walker’s personal finances, and let’s just put it this way: he doesn’t have to pretend to be Everyman.

Scott Walker, according to a Daily Beast report that jeers that he has “preached fiscal responsibility” but asks “will his credit card debt undermine his message,” owes Sears up to $50,000. The Boston Globe previously noted that Walker has the lowest net worth of any presidential candidate: minus $72, 500.

Meanwhile, the New York Times on Sunday published an investigation into how Mark Rubio, another GOP hopeful, has benefited from his friendship with Florida billionaire Norman Braman (“Billionaire Lifts Marco Rubio, Politically, Personally”). I’ll skip the temptation to say that at least Rubio hasn’t let Mr. Braman make off with twenty percent of the U.S. uranium and say that I honestly can’t decide what, if anything, to make of the story.  (The economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth noted in a tweet that the New York Times used Mother’s Day to attack Mr. Rubio for getting financial support for a pet cause of Mr. Braman’s—a cancer institute, which would help women who suffer from cancer.)  

Here is a nugget from the New York Times article:

In an interview, Mr. Rubio described Mr. Braman as a father figure who had given him advice on everything from what books to read to how to manage a staff. After Mr. Rubio’s father died in 2010, Mr. Braman called every other day to check in.

Pressed on his financial ties to Mr. Braman, Mr. Rubio said in an interview that he saw no ethical issue. “What is the conflict?” he asked. “I don’t ever recall Norman Braman ever asking for anything for himself.”

He acknowledged that Mr. Braman had approached him about state aid for projects, such as funding for cancer research, but said that he had supported the proposals on their merits.

The reliance on Mr. Braman is likely to put a spotlight on the finances of Mr. Rubio, who ranks among the least-wealthy candidates in the emerging Republican field. Mr. Rubio left the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 with a net worth of $8,351, multiple mortgages and $115,000 in student debt. In his latest financial disclosure form, for 2013, he reported at least $450,000 in liabilities, including two mortgages and a line of credit.

It will be easier to put a spotlight on the finances of Walker and Rubio than the Democratic candidate: they are small potatoes guys. The press will find getting a handle on Mrs. Clinton’s wealth, which is tied into a foundation with tentacles around the world and $2 billion in assets, more difficult if not impossible. But one thing is clear: the Everyman (or should I say Everyperson?) candidates this year are not Democrats. My guess is that, rather than being shocked, most Americans will identify with these men who in their personal finances are more Economy Class than Gulfstream. Here is Peggy Noonan’s response to those who are shocke by the Walker revelations:  

My reaction was the opposite. To me the story made Walker look normal. (That in fact was my impression of him when I met him about a year ago for coffee at a New York restaurant. I was late. He was at a small table alone, reading some papers. No aides, no staff, no security, just a guy at a table, a Midwestern businessman having a cup of coffee between meetings. He also acted normal. This was so startling to me—politicians now are so often weird, outsized, faintly deranged—that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.)

According to the piece Walker owes up to $50,000 to Sears and some perhaps similar amount on another card. His spokeswoman said well, yeah, he’s got two kids in college and his parents live with him. His yearly salary is $144,423. More jaw dropping: his net worth is minus $72,500. Meaning he has done a great deal of work and accomplished many things over the years and never bothered to make himself rich.

This is so refreshing—public service that is not, apparently, a self-enrichment project—that I can’t help but think we should tip our hats. Good for him for doing it the old-fashioned way. As for its impact on his appeal, unless I’m very wrong, a lot of Americans will feel not derisive about his financial condition but almost touched. “Harry Truman had no money either.”



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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