Republican Presidential Candidate Scott Walker Can’t Handle a Rewards Credit Card

Via pfdigest, Governor Scott Walker has credit card debt that he’s paying over 27% interest on.

This probably just makes him seem like an ‘average American’, someone that folks can relate to. But it does call into question his financial savvy. There may not be a connection between how a person handles their own finances and how they handle the finances of a state or the nation, but it does provide some pause.

Walker incurred one credit-card debt with Barclays in 2014, according to the financial disclosure form, and owed between $10,000 and $15,000 at a 27.24 percent interest rate as of July 2015.

…One of Walker’s credit-card debts, to Bank of America, dates back to 2011, his first year as governor, according to the disclosure form. Walker currently owes between $10,000 and $15,000 on that one, with an interest rate of 11.99 percent.

He does appear to be paying off debt, perhaps that is how he used his $45,000 book advance, since he had more than $50,000 in debt on the Bank of America card last year and “$5,000 to $50,000” on a Sears MasterCard that doesn’t show up on his federal disclosure forms.

His credit card debit likely hurts his credit score (high utilization ratio). Nonetheless, he has a $140,000 income and appears to be paying down that debt. One imagines he could get a card that offers 0% balance transfer (and even $0 in balance transfer fees).

We don’t know which Bank of America or Barclays cards he has. At least he’s savvy enough that he doesn’t have the worst credit card ever.

For someone that doesn’t pay their cards off in full each month the most important issue is the fees that cards will charge. Generally it makes sense to forego rewards. Which is a shame because it appears as though he has significant credit card spend on which he could be earning rewards, points that could give him and his family a nice trip to relax after his campaign for the Republican nomination for President.

On the other hand, while I’d prefer to see someone more shrewd with personal finances, perhaps on net this cuts in his favor since it demonstrates he’s the rare politician who appears not to have used his office for personal enrichment.

And unlike Donald Trump, he hasn’t filed for bankruptcy four times so he’s trying to make his creditors whole. Once he goes on the speaking circuit and boosts his income he should be able to turn his focus to more shrewdly earning credit card rewards.

Related: Here’s the credit card President Obama uses

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Far be it from me to defend Scott Walker over almost anything, not least his preaching fiscal prudence and responsibility to others while being not so great at it himself. But, taking that hypocritical preaching out of the equation, I can certainly see how someone could accumulate and exacerbate debt in this way. He simply might be very busy with other tasks, such as those of being a governor, to focus on his personal finances as much as he should.

  2. He must have pretty pathetic credit if he is paying 27% interest. That’s pretty unbelievable for someone in his position. No wonder Wisconsin has so much debt.

  3. How can anyone get behind a candidate who’s personal financial house is not in order? While they say a carpenters house is always the last to get worked on I would never say the same for bankers or government leaders who’s job it is to balance budgets and tax as needed to do so. This is a disaster for him and for those who want him elected.

  4. Gary, it’s your blog, but there’s a reason there’s an old saying about not discussing politics, religion, or money …

    Is this just clickbait, or are you trying to make your readership “more selective”?

  5. 1. Certain cards have standard 27% interest; it may not have anything to do with his credit score
    2. People incur debt for many reasons, some logical some dumb.
    3. Donald Trump has never personally declared bankruptcy, so your link may be misleading
    4. If you want to alienate 50% of your audience, post about politics…even when there is really no political message

  6. Blogger with another job funded by a Koch brother (or two) supporting Koch brothers-backed Walker for President of the U.S.? Another slow news Sunday in the world of miles and points?

    Amigo, I love the Sunday morning political talk shows as much as anyone. But really this kind of cheerleading for Koch-backed Walker? I’m really not surprised.

  7. @GUWonder this Koch brothers thing has really reached a point of derangement and absurdity. You really got from this article that Gary supports Walker?

  8. Trump didn’t file for “Bankruptcy 4 times”. He filed for protection for four non-money producing businesses within his own parent company, including New Jersey which was cratered by Obama-hugger, Chris Christie.

    Due to the digital Marc Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, who want increase H-1B Visa’s and worthless digital garbage as the pair, Trump made the right move for those entities granted by the laws of the USA.

  9. @republican_ron – the linked-to article on obama’s credit card choice is critical of his cutting the line at franklin barbecue, you might like that one better! 🙂

  10. Gary:

    You do realize that Walker had to defend himself at his own expense against some out-of-control Wisconsin Democrat prosecutor for doing his job in a way the Dems did not like.

  11. @Matt… Regardless of your politics using a 27% interest credit card in todays low interest market is not very smart. There are a ton of better less expensive options and it doesn’t take much research to find them. Personally I wouldn’t trust someone with my money no matter who they are if they keep balances on 27% credit cards.

  12. By your statement on one of the middle paragraphs – “that could give him and his family a nice trip to relax after his campaign for the Republican nomination for President.” you are then assuming that he’d lose the presidential candidacy for nomination. After all, if he wins, then he’d get a free vacation as a President, right?

  13. @ Steve – correct, as Gov, he’s likely far too busy to attend to daily personal tasks like paying bills and the like. On the other hand, his wife has no job and no kids to raise, so there’s no excuse for that if did occur.

    @ Darth – Walkers $650,000 legal defense was paid entirely out of the legal defense fund he established – he paid nothing out of pocket.

  14. Gary-

    Walker can’t handle governing with true conservative principles either. He signed a bill last will to provide $250 million of taxpayer money for an arena in Milwaukee to keep the Bucks basketball team in Wisconsin. Last month he cut funding for the University of Wisconsin by……guess how much…

    Yes! $250 million!

    So much for working for the people, unless the people are millionaire basketball players and their billionaire team owners. As you Texans say, Tall hat, no cattle.

  15. I’d have thought his friend David (no relation, unfortunately) could pay off Walker’s cards in a keystroke! That’s a lot of debt for someone who never graduated from college and who boasts about shopping at dollar stores.and uber-cheap discount chains. Of course we don’t want a repeat of the former Virginia governor’s fiscal calamity. (BTW just caught you on MSNBC…can you post a link, do a post on this guy’s complaint about DL? Must say, I do hate commentators who talk about the money airlines make from these additional fees without acknowledging the decades of losses those same airlines have incurred!)

  16. Sounds like old Scott needs a “Suze Orman intervention” just like Marco Rubio!

    Old Marco liquidated a retirement account to purchase his daughter a refrigerator for her college dorm room!

    The old story, politicians who don’t practice what they preach!

  17. Too bad both Scott Walker and Marco Rubio didn’t appear on the Suzie Orman show on her “Can I afford it” segment. I can hear Suzy now saying DENIED! to both of them. Anyone who takes money out of a retirement account to buy a refrigerator needs serious financial intervention.

  18. Considering both Rubio and Walker have never held a job in the private sector and have always “worked” in the electoral political world, it explains how their rhetoric seldom meshes well with reality.
    Gary, will check out the new post about the DL up-sell protest. Thanks.

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