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The Capitol Report

Mandela Barnes trails top Senate rivals in personal wealth

  • 2 min to read

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes trails his top U.S. Senate rivals in terms of net worth, reporting assets of between $5,005 and $75,000. Barnes’ financial disclosure, filed with the U.S. Senate, lists a single savings account worth between $1,001 and $15,000.

The only other investment he listed was his state retirement plan. That includes four investments, each worth between $1,001 and $15,000.

Meanwhile, Democratic rivals Sarah Godlewski and Alex Lasry both reported millions in holdings. The two have used their personal wealth to help fund their campaigns in pursuit of the Democratic nomination.

In addition, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who has not yet announced whether he’ll seek a third term, reported in May that he had assets last year of between $16.5 million and $78.1 million. He also listed the previously reported sale of his stake in plastics manufacturer PACUR. It was valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

Barnes, who formally entered the race in July, listed no debts of more than $10,000. His state salary of $148,080 was the only income he listed on his filing.

The Senate financial disclosure statements don’t require candidates to list their primary residence.

Barnes, 34, served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2013 to 2017, leaving after an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate. He then worked as deputy director of strategic engagement for the State Innovation Exchange. The organization is a nonprofit policy shop for progressive legislators created as a counter to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

He left that job to run for lieutenant governor in 2018, and he didn’t file a tax return for that year.

Meanwhile, the assets for his top Democratic rivals include:

Between at least $61.4 million and more than $80 million for Lasry. That includes Lasry’s disclosure that he has a trust that includes an ownership stake in the Milwaukee Bucks that’s worth more than $50 million, the maximum amount a Senate candidate has to disclose for a holding. On top of his personal holdings, Lasry is also a partner in a series of investments worth between $82.2 million and $192.1 million, his share of which was not disclosed.

Between $24.7 million and $60.6 million for Godlewski, the state treasurer, and her husband, Max Duckworth. Her filing also includes four investments that are described as worth more than $1 million and held independently by her spouse, but doesn’t provide additional details. One is a solar plant in England, while another is the farmland next to the facility. The other two are corporate securities on the London stock exchange.

Between $929,051 and nearly $2.6 million for Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. But of that, $516,004 to $1.1 million were described as life insurance policies.

That includes two term life policies, which are plans in which the policyholder pays a regular premium for coverage over a set period of time. The policies have no value other than the guaranteed death benefit and don’t include a savings component. Subtracting the term policies from Nelson’s assets would reduce them by between $500,001 and $1 million.

The Capitol Report is written by the editorial staff at WisPolitics.com, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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