Gov. Scott Walker has two credit-card debts of more than $10,000 apiece on separate cards and is paying an eye-popping 27.24 percent interest rate on one of them, new federal financial documents disclosed on Monday show.
The Republican presidential candidate has cast himself as both a fiscal conservative leader and a penny-pinching everyman on the campaign trail, often touting his love of Kohl’s, the discount department store. His newly published financial disclosure shows that, like many Americans, Walker has few assets, some major debts (including more than $100,000 for student loans for his children), and a punishing interest rate on his credit-card obligations.
Walker incurred one credit-card debt with Barclays in 2014, according to the financial disclosure form, and owed between $10,000 and $15,000 at a 27.24 percent interest rate as of July 2015. Most financial advisers recommend shedding credit-card debt as quickly as possible, especially when paying interest rates that high.
Walker, who has spent his adult life in elected office, is among the poorer Republican candidates for president. Donald Trump is worth billions. Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson are all multimillionaires. All told, Walker listed only six investments worth between $1,000 and $15,000, a whole life insurance plan worth between $15,000 and $50,000, and a deferred compensation plan from Milwaukee County worth between $15,000 and $50,000.
His carrying of high-interest credit-card debt makes Walker the second major candidate with some eyebrow-raising personal finances. Earlier this year, rival Sen. Marco Rubio, also among the less-well-off politicians in the field, reported cashing out one of his retirement accounts, another move not recommended by many financial professionals.
“As a public servant, the governor gave back hundreds of thousands of his salary to the taxpayers, and he is a regular American with two kids in college and a small amount of credit card debt,” Walker spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.
Walker has carried at least some credit-card debt for four years, according to the disclosure form, despite a job as governor that paid him $222,899 since the start of 2014 (annualized, his salary is around $140,0000). In that time Walker also received a $45,000 advance for a book, Unintimidated, about his governorship.
One of Walker’s credit-card debts, to Bank of America, dates back to 2011, his first year as governor, according to the disclosure form. Walker currently owes between $10,000 and $15,000 on that one, with an interest rate of 11.99 percent.
And that appears to be a substantial improvement. Walker’s state-level disclosure form in Wisconsin said that at the end of 2014 he had more than $50,000 in debts to Bank of America. That form did not identify the debt as a credit card, or list its interest rate.
On the Wisconsin form, Walker also listed a $5,000 to $50,000 debt to Sears Master Card as of the end of 2014. That debt does not appear on Walker’s federal disclosure, suggesting he paid it off.
What We're Following See More »
"The Trump administration is proposing a budget it says will increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense spending by the same amount. The White House is sending a topline budget proposal reflecting those figures to federal agencies on Monday afternoon, according to an Office of Management and Budget official." An unnamed OMB official said most federal agencies would face cutbacks.
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.
Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.
"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."