After spending nearly $9 million of his own money to buy his very own U.S. Senate seat, Republican Ron Johnson has paid himself back and then some, thanks to the piggy bank that is Pacur, the plastics company Johnson owns.
According to Johnson’s latest financial disclosure reports, Pacur paid Johnson $10 million in “deferred compensation” shortly before he was sworn in as Wisconsin’s junior senator. Asked to comment on the windfall, Johnson declined to clarify how it was decided he’d be paid $10 million in “deferred compensation,” telling Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “You take a look in terms of what would be a reasonable compensation package, OK? It’s a private business. I’ve complied with all the disclosure laws, and I don’t have to explain it any further to someone like you.”
Given Johnson’s fondness for leaving out the details of his policy positions when he ran for the Senate, it’s not surprising that he’d be equally as vague when it comes to answering questions about his personal finances or the financial dealings of the company he owns. Apparently, Ron Johnson is above explaining little things like his policy positions and his finances to the people of Wisconsin, because apparently we’re just beneath him.
21 thoughts on “Ron Johnson: “I don’t have to explain it any further to someone like you.””
so basically Pacur, a citizens united personage, bought itself a senator? This will happen again and again.
??? Pacur bought itself a senator? Really? What’s that quote about being better to remain silent & be thought a fool…
Pacur is Johnson’s company – he owns it. Zach even said so in the text of the post.
Deferred compensation happens all the time – whether it’s stock options or cash, executives/owners at most companies do this. They exercise them when they need the money – which, after spending a boatload of his own money, would seem to pretty clearly fit in this case.
Or is that the problem – that he spent a bunch of money? Because if you have an issue with rich people self-financing then it’s a long damn list, and the Senator from Milwaukee should receive your scorn as well.
Actually, Locke, deferred compensation does happen all the time, but it is decided prior to the deferring, not on the back end. At the back end it is hard to call it “deferred” when the compensation wasn’t actually decided previous. You get it, right, that “deferred” has an element of time to its meaning?
Um…Steven…not quite sure what the point you’re trying to make is. He hasn’t taken a salary as CEO/owner since ’97 – how exactly are you trying to say it was deferred “on the back end?”
Compensation not taken in the passed, but taken in the future…pretty sure that’s exactly what deferred means.
Sure, but where’s the written deferred compensation agreement? If I understand this correctly, there should have been some sort of written agreement regarding RoJo’s deferred compensation.
Should? Maybe, maybe not, but not really your, my or anyone else’s call. As a privately held company, that’s really a decision for the owners to make. If they’re comfortable with an informal, verbal agreement that’s their call to make.
I have a business that I own. For me, all of my compensation is deferred. I don’t take out a salary, everything the company takes in goes to the company. From time to time, when either things are going especially well for the company or when I really need the money, then I take out my compensation. This is not unusual – this is how small businesses operate all the time. You put the business and it’s growth first, but in the end, you get to decide if/when/how much to take out for yourself.
Locke and if you use that business to buy a Senate seat then that is a different story all together.
Sometimes I’m lucky if I can afford to buy groceries, so I think a Senate seat is a bit of a stretch…:)
But our campaign laws are such that individuals can use their own funds with much less restrictions than donor funds. It sounds like that’s your gripe & you’re focusing on Johnson is misdirected. In Wisconsin, Kohl blazed this trail, and there’s a long list of rich people from both parties who’ve self-funded.
true but Kohl, F James, etc… have never been so bold before to do it the way the ROJO did. He said he was going to spend “his own money” and then a couple months after the election he negotiated with himself a payout that more than covered the amount of money “HE” spent on his race. Maybe its legal(but it shouldnt be) and maybe he did not cross the line but he came awful close……
Then to top it all off, the citizen legislator, answers with “I don’t have to explain it any further to someone like you.” seriously? who does he have to explain it to?
But again, the time frame really is irrelevant. It was his money all along – he just hadn’t pulled it out yet. That’s what deferred comp. is.
To your other point, while I’d argue that he is well within his rights to take his own money out with a wide degree of latitude (obviously so long as it’s not illegal) and while I’d also argue that it’s his right to say, “None of your business” I’ll also say that it’s a poor decision. He’s certainly shown the inexperience of being a novice candidate/politician. There are a lot of places where I think we ask too much of politicians – pry too much into their personal lives. But it’s not unreasonable at all to expect more disclosure of elected and appointed public officials than private individuals.
So can he say, “NOYB”? Sure. Should he? Nope. Sorry if people see this as a distinction without a difference, I don’t.
Jeff, the simple answer to your question, “To whom does he [HAVE] to explain it”, is, objectively speaking, the IRS and the FEC:
Good luck with that, Ron.
P.S. Locke, you might want to read the linked article before you post any further comments.
I appreciate your concern, but I’ll trust the guidance of my tax adviser over you or the Daily Kos.
It’s also amusing to imagine internet posters and political pundits pretend they know more about the tax implications in this situation than whoever Johnson pays to do his. I really find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have real experts in the field on retainer. Aside from the completely unsupported assumption that there is nothing in writing, there are a ton of exemptions to the rules. And of course most of the rules cover executives – when you add being an owner into the mix, there’s a whole world of other options with capital/equity payouts.
“I really find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have real experts in the field on retainer.”
THAT’S what you’re hanging your hat on?! (*laughing*)
I imagine that Tom DeLay, Bernie Madoff, the guys at Enron, and every other white collar crook, tax cheat and election law scofflaw that tried to get away with something unlawful did, too.
I’m sure that your tax adviser is aces and everything when it comes to YOUR company’s tax situation and how your deferred compensation syncs up with all of your political campaigns and campaign contributions, but why don’t we just give the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Elections Commission a chance to chime in on RON JOHNSON’S situation, huh?
Arrogant people do ill-advised things just because they think they’re above it all and can get away with it. Ron Johnson is just arrogant enough to have thought the same.
So, “just say no” to your propensity to leap to the defense of people like Ron Johnson, and let the system do its thing.
I suspect that if it had been Senator Feingold, instead of Senator Johnson, in the hot seat, you probably wouldn’t have chimed in, no matter what your tax adviser might have had to say about “deferred compensation”.
Locke’s ridiculous comment left me imagining a doomsday scenario where the DoJ goes around reasoning “Well, this guy’s really rich. I’m sure he could have afforded experts in the field to advise against committing crime X… So, despite this other evidence to the contrary, there’s no point investigating this person for criminal behavior X.”
I really find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have real experts in the field on retainer
Yes. He’s just added Patrick McIlheran to his communications stable, so it’s safe to assume his tax team is top-notch.
The point is that deferred compensation is always agreed upon at the time it is deferred. It happens all the time, even with revised agreements every single year. It is not “deferred” unless it has such an agreement. It is then merely compensation.
There are rules for deferred compensation of this kind that are there because of tax implication for both the company and the individual. Neither entity wants to take the whole tax hit for a single year when they can just point to the agreement.
Hasn’t anyone in here had any courses in business? Or logic?
Must be nice. Note to self:
1) marry up the ladder
Bet you were saying that about John Kerry back in 2004 too, right?
Remind me again….was John Kerry married into money when he first ran for the U.S. Senate?
The answer is no, but don’t let the facts get in the way of your attempt to make a weak comparison.
Further, John Kerry didn’t self-fund his 2004 presidential campaign.
But on a serious note: doesn’t Dan Bice know who the f he’s talking to? I’m Ron f-ing JOHNson! pffft. ^mumbling^ peasants think I have to answer their garbldy glurg…
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