Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is under fire for a $9 million payout he received from the plastics company that he ran before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. Not a surprise — it's an election year for Johnson, and opponents will take every opportunity they can to remind voters that he's a wealthy millionaire.
What surprised me about the story is that Johnson is citing Plastics News' executive pay rankings to defend himself.
First, some background. Johnson was CEO of Pacur LLC, an Oshkosh, Wis.-based sheet extruder, before he decided to run against three-term incumbent Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold.
Now, six years later (and with Johnson now the incumbent facing a challenge in the November election from Feingold), Democrats are challenging how Johnson funded his 2010 campaign.
Johnson loaned himself about $9 million for the 2010 race. What Democrats say is suspicious is that after Johnson was elected, Pacur paid him $10 million. They're calling that an undisclosed corporate contribution to his campaign, and they filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Johnson.
Johnson recently explained the $10 million payment in an interview with the Devil's Advocates radio program in Madison, Wis.