Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) has represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate since 2011. Prior to getting involved in politics, he worked at PACUR, a plastics company owned by his wife’s family, initially as an accountant and eventually rising to the position of CEO.
The Koch brothers and their network of dark money groups are behind Johnson’s success in politics. At a Koch summit in 2016, he was described as a “model Senator” and in April of that year, a Koch-affiliated 501(c)(4) launched a $1.1 million ad campaign on his behalf. At the same time, another Koch group, the 501(c)(6) Freedom Partners, launched a $2-million campaign against Johnson’s opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.).
After the 2020 presidential election, Johnson adhered to the GOP playbook by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome and downplaying the seriousness of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He participated in a virtual summit to strategize about how to prevent President Biden from assuming office and in holding Trump blameless for the insurrection, he actually suggested that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—or perhaps the Capitol Police or left-wing provocateurs—were responsible for inciting the mob.
January 6, 2021
- Just hours after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, Johnson joined 146 other congressional Republicans in refusing to certify Biden’s 2020 Electoral College win of the presidency.
- Johnson opposed impeaching Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and claimed instead that the impeachment charges were actually a distraction orchestrated by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to shift attention away from her role in instigating the insurrection.
- In February 2021, Johnson made the unfounded claim that left-wing “provocateurs” and “fake” Trump supporters were responsible for the violence at the Capitol.
- Johnson opposed the creation of a congressional committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, calling it a “farce” and urging his Republican colleagues to stand against it. “I hope no Republicans in the House vote for this,” he said. “I hope nobody in the Senate embraces it either.”
- During an appearance on Fox News in May 2021, Johnson called the Jan. 6 riot a largely “peaceful protest.”
- On June 10, 2021, Johnson sent a letter to Yogananda D. Pittman, the chief of the Capitol Police, requesting that he personally question Capitol Police officers to determine their potential involvement in facilitating the attack.
- During a meeting with his constituents in August 2021, Johnson asserted without evidence that the FBI had advance notice of the Jan. 6 attack but did not do anything to prevent it.
The Big Lie
- Johnson used his position as Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to call for investigations of voting irregularities. In December 2020, he said during a committee hearing, “lax enforcement, denying effective bipartisan observation of the complete election process, and failure to be fully transparent or conduct reasonable audits has led to heightened suspicion.”
- On Jan. 4, 2021, Johnson attended a virtual summit hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell to discuss unfounded allegations of election fraud, along with strategies to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as president.
- In September 2021, Johnson appeared to admit that there had been no election fraud—at least in the state he represents—stating there was “nothing obviously skewed about the results” of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin. “If all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for Assembly candidates,” he continued, “he would have won. He didn’t get 51,000 votes other Republicans got—that’s why he lost.”
- However, by February 2022, Johnson was backpedaling again. “Our concern is Milwaukee,” he said. “This is one of these big Democrat strongholds that just can’t seem… to get their votes counted until they know exactly how many votes they need…. Whether anything’s happening or not, it just looks suspicious.”
- In a radio interview in January 2022, Johnson said that voter suppression was not a real problem in America and that there is “nothing racist” about voter ID laws.
- Johnson supported an audit of the 2020 election results in Wisconsin and claimed he coordinated with Sidney Powell, a former attorney with Trump’s reelection campaign, to organize the initiative.
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- In December 2021, Johnson called for a federal takeover of the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC), characterizing it as an “out of control agency [that is] issuing guidances that are contrary to state law.”
Top contributors for the 2020 election cycle.
The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families.
|Club for Growth||$525,033.00||$0.00||$525,033.00|
|Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance||$98,460.00||$12,000.00||$86,460.00|
|Foley & Lardner||$57,325.00||$2,000.00||$55,325.00|
|National Republican Senatorial Cmte||$46,800.00||$46,800.00||$0.00|
|Robert W Baird & Co||$36,400.00||$0.00||$36,400.00|