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7 Pressing Questions About Ron Johnson’s Private Jet

Oct 9, 2020

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported that Senator Ron Johnson has been flying back and forth from DC on “a private plane owned by his adult children,” to avoid flying commercial during the pandemic, even as he publicly downplays the threat and calls coverage of COVID “panic porn.”

The use of the private plane is just the latest of many questionable financial arrangements between Johnson, his adult children, and the family trust Johnson established which conceals his family’s wealth and spending.

Johnson did not submit the Senate paperwork that is required to get reimbursed for private travel to and from his state, which raises a number of questions including:

  1. Who is paying for Johnson’s flights back-and-forth from DC? If taxpayers are paying, he could be violating Senate rules.
  1. This isn’t the first time Johnson’s family trust has generated controversy. The Journal-Sentinel recently reported that Johnson’s kids got special treatment from Wisconsin state officials, and that they received $1 million in tax credits for an investment property they purchased with funding from the Johnson family trust — even though Johnson’s kids didn’t follow state rules.
  1. If Johnson is paying for his private jet travel, is he paying his children and their LLC for the flights? 
  1. The jet is owned by Howard Air LLC, which could be owned by Johnson’s family trust. Is the family trust paying for Johnson’s flights? Johnson previously used the trust he created for his kids to purchase his million dollar home in Washington D.C. Did he get any tax benefits for that transaction?
  1. Is Johnson receiving any tax benefits from his travel on a private plane?
  1. If Johnson is paying, is he paying fair market rate? If not, he may be violating campaign finance rules.

Johnson was the deciding vote for the GOP tax bill, which included a tax break for private jet owners. How much did that tax giveaway save his family and their trust?