PolitiFact Wisconsin: State lawmakers' per-diem

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 19:25:31-04

Can Wisconsin lawmakers earn hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars more a year just for showing up to work in Madison?

PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at a claim that questions that benefit.

When lawmakers are working in Madison they get what's called a per-diem or stipend. But the Wisconsin Freedom Alliance - a conservative leaning political group is running radio ads complaining about the benefit.

"In the ad the group claimed that Wisconsin politicians get daily expenses payments that quote even if they don't spend a dime on meals or lodging or travel - and - no receipts are required for them to get paid," said Dave Umhoefer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
PolitiFact Wisconsin found Assembly members earn $78.50 a day or $157 for one overnight stay. A state senator gets $115 a day.

The numbers can up add to several hundred dollars a year for some lawmakers to several thousand for others - depending on how much time they spend in Madison.

"They are meant to cover staying overnight in a hotel, meals miscellaneous expenses. They are not for travel, they get separate mileage reimbursement for that," Umhoefer said.
Clerks for the Assembly and Senate tell PolitiFact Wisconsin lawmakers are not asked to itemize for the per-diem - it's an allowance.
"You just declare that you were in Madison working on legislation and you basically automatically get these payments," Umhoefer said.
PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly True.

The base salary for Assembly and Senate lawmakers is just under $51,000 dollars a year.


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