Koch and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Koch and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 2
From the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (2010, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Local Reporting:
My note-This same paper endorsed tea party backed candidate Scott Walker.
Madison — Scott Walker took a prank phone call Tuesday (Buffalo Beast), and Wisconsin learned a lot about its new governor.
A recording of the call released Wednesday spelled out Walker’s strategies for dealing with protesting union workers and trying to lure Democrats boycotting the state Senate back to Wisconsin.
Speaking with whom he believed to be billionaire conservative activist David Koch, Walker said he considered – but rejected – planting troublemakers amid protesters who have rocked the Capitol for a week.
He told the caller he feared a “ruckus” would “scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has to settle to avoid this problem.”
He also described a plan to get his bill taking away union rights passed without Democrats who have boycotted the Senate. He said he talked to a Democratic senator for 45 minutes who he thought could help even though “he’s not one of us.”
Walker discussed ways Koch – a financer of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity – could help Republican legislators, presumably with TV and radio ads.
…Koch is co-owner of Koch Industries, an energy and consumer products company that owns Georgia-Pacific paper mills in Wisconsin. He is a chief backer of Americans for Prosperity, which helped stage tea party rallies in Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010 and on Wednesday announced it was spending $342,200 on advertising to persuade Wisconsin residents to back Walker’s plan.
“The caller was not David Koch and we have no further response to this fraudulent act at this time,” said a statement from Mark Holden, a senior vice president with Koch Industries.
Koch Industries’ political action committee was one of the biggest financial supporters of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign last fall, giving $43,000 to his political fund.
Koch also gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association last year, and Koch Industries contributed another $50,000. The RGA spent $65,000 on ads supporting Walker and an additional $3.4 million attacking Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s Democratic opponent.
On Tuesday, the RGA launched a website promoting Walker’s stance against unions.
O. Ricardo Pimentel of the Journal Sentinel writes:
Among the disturbing comments.
At one point, the Koch imposter tells Walker that he was thinking of planting “troublemakers” among the peaceful protesters. The correct response is, this is a bad idea because people might get hurt. Part of Walker’s response: “We thought about that … .”
Huh, an elected governor thought about planting troublemakers? And the administration opted not to do this because? A “ruckus” might give the public the motivation to want him to compromise. Never mind that people are, not seldomly, hurt in ruckuses. It’s the political fallout he feared. How’s that for a profile in courage?
A guy calls you and says he’s going to reward your conservative fortitude in busting unions with a trip to Cali – on him? That’s generally called a bribe or, at least, a breach of ethics. Correct response: “Oh, that’s not necessary, David. I’m doing this on principle and it would be wrong to take that trip on your dime.” Walker’s response – honest, I’m not making this up – “All right; that would be outstanding.”
A caller reminds you that he has a “vested intererest” in doings in Madison, presumably being able to buy state power plants in no-bid fire sales, made possible by an item in Walker’s budget repair bill? The correct response: “It’s inappropriate to suggest that I’m doing this because of your vested interests.” Walker pretty much just lets the comment pass.
And he blithely talks of writing up layoff risk notices for 5,000 to 6,000 public employees as if it’s just another bargaining chip. But, of course, when he does this, he will cast it as something the senators are making him do. No, governor, you don’t. The unions have conceded.
He talks of promising to talk to the missing senators but not negotiate. Yup, that’s the kind of open-mindedness we expect from our elected officials. He owns up to doing it just to get them to sit in their seats so that he can pass his stuff without their votes in any case. All fair in love, war and politics, I guess.
Sorry, this is far from a brief comical moment. It is a telling moment. And it says nothing good about Walker or Wisconsin politics.