Infamous tax-evading trust fund benefactor and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is fundraising off of the Ohio train derailment, a disaster he has played no role in helping to prevent and no role in helping to address.

On Monday, Johnson sent out an email from his Senate campaign with the subject line “Have you noticed the silence around the train derailment too?”

“I fear we barely know the impact this disaster has caused. Nearby wildlife are dropping dead, fish are dying up and down the Ohio River and this is probably just the beginning,” Johnson’s email read. “We need answers and we need them NOW. But… the media is barely covering this.”

Apparently, Johnson hasn’t kept up to date with the myriad of outlets, including TNR, that have been actively covering the impact this disaster has caused. If there’s silence, Johnson himself seems to be part of it. Forget actual political advocacy; the senator’s two Twitter accounts have posted nothing about the derailment, or rail policy generally.

A button in the email also encouraged users to share their thoughts on why the media isn’t covering the story and fill out their contact information, presumably to build up Johnson’s newsletter list.

Despite his best efforts to pretend, the Wisconsin senator does not have a history of  exhibiting any actual pro-worker, pro-rail safety concerns. In 2022 alone, Johnson received $7,500 from Norfolk Southern, the rail company responsible for the disaster in Ohio. Johnson is also most famous for evading millions in federal taxes, buying his Senate seat with even more millions brought from a company he inherited from his wife’s brother, and using his position to get $215 million in tax deductions for his two biggest campaign donors.

And he has maintained his wealth-favoring ideology in the sphere of rail policy, too. One of the few rail-related bills that Johnson has co-sponsored was a bill introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses backed by the Association of American Railroads; the bill sought to delay the industry-wide implementation of a monitoring system to help prevent train collisions and derailments. Norfolk Southern is among the companies represented by the association.

As if Johnson’s shameless impersonation as someone who actually cares about rail safety wasn’t enough, he concluded the email by asking for the reader to help pay off his campaign debts. “I hate to ask this, but will you help me finally see this campaign through to the end so I can double down on our Conservative efforts in the Senate?”


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