Senator Ron Johnson, the Republican from Wisconsin, is facing a relentless and coordinated smear campaign orchestrated by Democrats and the mainstream media. The reason why seems obvious. Johnson is running for re-election this midterm cycle and the Democratic Party has identified his seat as one they can flip.

An article in the Hill noted that recent "controversies" have emboldened Democrats vying to replace Johnson, citing the "slew of negative headlines" against the incumbent senator.

Most recently, the media made the claim that Senator Johnson had blamed school shootings on liberal indoctrination and wokeness in schools. As per usual,...

Senator Ron Johnson, the Republican from Wisconsin, is facing a relentless and coordinated smear campaign orchestrated by Democrats and the mainstream media. The reason why seems obvious. Johnson is running for re-election this midterm cycle and the Democratic Party has identified his seat as one they can flip.

An article in the Hill noted that recent “controversies” have emboldened Democrats vying to replace Johnson, citing the “slew of negative headlines” against the incumbent senator.

Most recently, the media made the claim that Senator Johnson had blamed school shootings on liberal indoctrination and wokeness in schools. As per usual, the establishment media failed to contextualize Johnson’s remarks and instead chose to mock him because he didn’t advocate for gun control.

Johnson’s full comments were much more astute than he received credit for. He blamed a decline in religion, the breakdown of families, a lack of community, isolation and our inability to teach kids the right values in schools for school shootings. On that last point, Johnson noted that traditional values have, in many cases, been replaced by woke curricula that reinforces feelings of inadequacy among children. Is that really so off-base?

The media’s attacks against Johnson that appear to be coordinated with Democrats involve allegations that he is a Senate rule-breaker or that he is using his office for personal enrichment.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for example, suggested Johnson had been improperly reimbursed for travel between a family vacation home in Florida and Washington, DC. He was reimbursed for nine such trips in 2021, the article explains.

Johnson’s team, however, noted that he was never reimbursed for travel to Florida, only for return trips that he made for official business in DC. According to Senate ethics rules, if a member returns from a city other than that of their district or residence, then they “may be reimbursed for transportation expenses incurred which are less than or equal to the amount” of traveling from their district. Further, each reimbursement was approved by the Senate Rules Committee. Whether Johnson flew home to Wisconsin to see his family or flew to Florida to see his family, his reimbursements for a return flight to DC would be the same amount.

Still, the Journal Sentinel quoted multiple Democrats who suggested the reimbursements were inappropriate and perhaps unethical. Philip Shulman, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, claimed the reimbursements were part of his “self-serving agenda”, while Jacquelyn Lopez, a partner with the Elias Law Group, challenged Johnson’s team’s reading of the Senate rules.

“A senator may not use taxpayer dollars to fund personal travel to or from a family vacation home.  As a matter of federal law and Senate ethics rules, senators may only use official funds for travel that is essential to the transaction of official business,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s inclusion in the article is, shall we say, problematic, because of her affiliation with the Elias Law Group. The Elias Law Group is founded by Marc Elias, the Democrat-backed lawyer who was a part of the 2016 election effort to tie Trump to Russia and who incorporated Majority Forward, a left-wing super PAC that is pouring millions into ad buys in Wisconsin against Johnson.

Further, the law firm has received money for legal services from at least two of Johnson’s opponents: Sarah Godlewski and Mandela Barnes.

The Journal Sentinel notes that Lopez is a lawyer for the Democratic Party, but it does not mention that her law firm is directly doing business with two of Johnson’s opponents. While we’re on the topic of ethics, shouldn’t that have been disclosed? Can we truly expect Lopez to offer an unbiased reading of the Senate rules?

Other media outlets, such as the Associated Press, similarly accused Johnson of financially benefiting from his position. They said he was motivated to push Trump to increase the tax deduction for pass-through companies because Johnson himself owned a pass-through corporation at the time. However, about 95 percent of businesses in the United States qualify as pass-throughs and thus benefited from the increased deductions in the Trump tax cut legislation. The coverage of Johnson’s advocacy for the increased deduction inspired multiple attack ads, such as one from “Opportunity Wisconsin.”

“Ron Johnson pushed through a special tax loophole that benefited his own family’s business… Then he cashed out of the company for $5 million… (he has) doubled his wealth since taking office,” the ad said.

But even the left-leaning PolitiFact rated the ad’s claims as only “half true.” The deduction was not a “loophole” and while Johnson’s business benefited, so did 25 million others, PolitiFact points out in its analysis.

The allegation that Johnson is using his Senate seat to enrich himself is also undermined by two key facts. One, he sold all of his stocks, bonds and mutual funds before taking office in 2011 to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. This move would likely cost him money, as cash accounts won’t generate as much value as investments over time. But, by doing so, he avoided probes into his finances over allegations of insider trading, like Senators Kelly Loeffler and Richard Burr.

Johnson also does not accept a healthcare subsidy created for members of Congress under Obamacare and even filed a lawsuit challenging the subsidy, arguing that politicians shouldn’t receive special treatment under the law. His rejection of the subsidy reportedly saved taxpayers nearly a hundred thousand dollars, far more than the cost of his return flights to DC from Florida.

Johnson is in a vulnerable Senate seat so it is understandable why Democrats would be pushing negative stories about him to the press — and certainly no politician, including Johnson, is perfect or above reproach. But it is the media’s job to make sure attacks have merit before running them wholesale. Instead, they’ve once again acted like DNC minions by offering up easy campaign fodder for Democrats.