Paddy Mac 'doesn't work for RoJo,' but is in his office, and making more than we thought | Wis.Community

Paddy Mac 'doesn't work for RoJo,' but is in his office, and making more than we thought

 We reported a month ago that Patrick McIlheran (pictured), former "right wing guy" on the Journal Sentinel opinion page, was working in DC for Sen. Ron Johnson, and apparently making $93,000 a year at taxpayer expense.

Michael Horne, bloggging at , also wrote about it. We didn't get any feedback from RoJo's office (maybe because we understated Paddy Mac's salary), but Horne did:


Recently, I wrote a column regarding the way Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) paid a staffer he hired: Patrick McIlheran, former conservative columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McIlheran’s salary is paid entirely by a senate subcommittee.

Johnson’s press secretary Brian Faughnan, however, wrote us to ask for a correction, insisting that “McIlheran is not a shared employee of Senators Johnson’s personal staff and his subcommittee staff. He works for the subcommittee.”

Actually, my original article did quote Faughnan saying McIlheran doesn’t work on Johnson’s personal staff. I’m happy to again quote Faughnan to that effect.

However, when the article was being researched, we checked McIlheran’s Facebook profile. It said McIlheran was “a writer and researcher for Senator Ron Johnson,” and included a link to Senator Johnson’s website. That link was removed from the Facebook page after the publication of my article . McIlheran no longer lists an employer of any sort.

Likewise, McIlheran’s LinkedIn account at the time listed his job as “a writer and researcher for Senator Ron Johnson.” That reference was also been removed subsequent to the publication of the article, and McIlheran now lists his employment as “Professional staff, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Subcte on Oversight of Govt Mgt.”

Finally, my article referred to the June 11, 2011 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announcement of McIlheran’s new job. The article was headlined, “McIlheran to leave JS for spot on Sen. Johnson's staff.” The story noted that “McIlheran, who will work out of Johnson's Washington, D.C., office, will research issues and write about them for the senator. McIlheran also will work for the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, of which Johnson is the ranking member.”

Finally, our original reporting included a call to the subcommittee office asking for McIlheran. The operator said McIlheran did not work at the subcommittee’s office, and forwarded the call to the office of the senator.

As our story noted, it is not unusual for Senators to have staff that work partly for a subcommittee and partly as personal staff. The issue, as an expert with the LegiStorm website noted, is how the salary is allocated between the two. Faughnan, however, insists McIlheran works 100 percent of the time for the subcommittee, meaning Johnson need not pay a dollar of McIlheran’s salary.

Faughnan also noted that McIlheran's total pay of $27,213.84 for the Third Quarter 2011 reports was for 102 calendar days, meaning his pay would be $97,382 on an annualized basis, not $108,000, as we reported. Our apologies for that error.

 Johnson's office should learn to leave well enough alone.


January 5, 2012 - 3:02pm