Chicago Mayor Accused of Spending $30K in Campaign Funds on Grooming Himself

Mayor Brandon Johnson
Mayor Brandon Johnson Twitter

Chicago's Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson is accused of spending more than $30K of campaign funds on hair and make-up since launching his bid for office last year.

Johnson, who defeated incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2023, reportedly used funds donated to his Friends of Brandon Johnson campaign fund by political supporters to cover the cost of his makeup and hair appointments, Fox News reported, citing the Chicago Sun Times.

The outlet cited election board records, which revealed that the progressive mayor spent more than $30,000 on personal grooming in the past year.

More than 30 Payments Made to Hair and Make-Up Artist

Almost all the money paid makeup artist and self-described "skincare enthusiast" Denise Milloy's Makeup Majic, which she operates out of a home on the South Side. Milloy received more than 30 payments from Johnson between 2023 and 2024, according to the Sun Times.

The payments in the expenditure report were listed as "Candidate makeup for TV," "Candidate makeup for debate" or "Candidate makeup" prior to the 2023 election. After the progressive mayor took office, the payments to the makeup artist were filed under "event expenses," the newspaper reported.

Campaign Adviser Said Funds were Spent on Paying Compensation to Black and Women-Owned Businesses

A campaign spokesperson for Johnson previously touted how a large amount of donations came from "working class people" and labor unions, the Sun Times recalled.

When questioned about Johnson's personal grooming and spending habits, Johnson campaign adviser Bill Neidhardt told the paper in a written statement, "The mayor does not spend taxpayer dollars in preparation for the many public appearances and events he attends every day.

"Instead, he is using his own campaign funds to pay Black and women-owned businesses a fair wage in compensation for their work in preparing the mayor and individuals associated with the campaign for public appearances, events, media segments and other availabilities. Neidhardt added, "Hair and makeup services are commonplace among high-ranking public officials."

The report also cites a $4,000 payment from Johnson's campaign to a Palatine, Illinois beauty salon called Anthony Jones Salon on March 27 for "event expenses." Neidhardt said that charge was mistakenly filed and that the vendor who filled out the campaign's finance reports "wrote down the wrong" salon."

Maintaining his personal appearance seems to have been a greater priority to Johnson than to his predecessor Lightfoot, who made only four payments to a Chicago business of approximately $2,000 total for "event-makeup services" in her campaign fillings last year, according to the paper.