A Media Trackers analysis of expense reports filed with the University of Wisconsin Madison reveals that during the past five years a top professor took 163 work related trips and spent a total of 542 days away from campus. In the past year alone, the University condoned – and often financed – his departure from campus a total of 29 times, for a total of 114 away from the University.
Professor Joel Rogers, the well-traveled academic, not only teaches classes in sociology, political science, and law, but also runs the Center On Wisconsin Strategy, a liberal think tank housed at the University, and participates in a number of far-left academic and policy initiatives and organizations. The total cost of his trips over the past five years – from 2009 through 2013 – which include taxi rides, flights, hotels and meals – is $132,581.24. The vast majority of that total – $99,307.93 – appears to have been paid for out of University accounts.
During the Spring 2013 semester, Rogers taught only two classes, both of them on Mondays. According to the University, Rogers spends non-teaching time conducting research or working as an advisor to graduate and undergraduate students.
In a number of instances the trips were used by Rogers to bolster his involvement with liberal groups he helped found or lead. A total of 46 trips found him traveling to meet with groups like the Apollo Alliance (the organization Harry Reid credited with helping to create the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), ALICE (works to provide a library of liberal model laws designed for states to observe and mirror), the Emerald Cities Collaborative (Environmental and economic policy think tank associated with the radical “New Party”) and Living Cities.
One expense report, for a Living Cities related trip in November of 2008, revealed Rogers spending $688.88 for a single night hotel stay. That was not paid for by the University, but the University did spend $32,045.86 sending Rogers to a number of those meetings.
In addition to the trips to Europe and the White House as mentioned in a previous Media Trackers report, here is a breakdown of the purpose of Rogers’ other travel expenses:
Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) meetings- $4,379.72 / 7 Trips
AFL-CIO, ALCU, SEIU Meetings – $4,902.47 / 7 trips
Fundraising – $8,049.10/ 12 trips
Climate/ Green Energy Meetings – $5,914.52 / 15 meetings
State Departments of Transportation meetings– $2,582.65 / 6 trips
Conferences Rogers’ Organized – $7,622.33 / 11 trips
While the University may argue that Rogers’ travel schedule benefits his work as an academic and thus makes him more valuable to the school and students, it is unquestionably clear that the University is also comfortable with spending its own dollars to further Rogers’ clear, radical, and Left-wing ideological agenda. The University offers free office space to Rogers’ liberal think tank, and their support of his wide and varied travel habits further underscores their commitment to his work.
In a strange twist of irony, Rogers has frequently expensed taxi trips both in Madison and in other cities to the University or organizations paying for his travel. In 2000, he earned a DUI, however, when he attempted to drive himself while having a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit.