Friday, January 13, 2012

Walkergate Exclusive: Add A New Campaign Violation To The List

To those that have even remotely been following Scott Walker's political career, it's pretty basic knowledge that he plays fast and loose with election laws.

This has been a lifelong pattern for him.

When he was attending Marquette University, he ran for president of the student government, but couldn't follow the rules regarding campaigning even then.

This was followed up when he ran the first time when he ran for re-election as Milwaukee County Executive. He shirked following the rules regarding open records, a stunt that wasn't discovered until months after the election. While he did not receive a fine for his misdeeds then, he did get a severe rebuke from the Department of Justice:
"In sum, this episode evinces a case of how government officials ought not to do business...

"Whether they violated the public records law is a question largely mooted by the later production of the waivers and the nearly inconceivable notion that a repeat of this inglorious set of circumstances might be forestalled by a judicial pronouncement on the matter.

"Nobody honored to serve in public office ought to manipulate public records in this fashion -- that is the opinion of this office."
One Wisconsin Now has been following his campaign finance reports for years and recently reported that he has violated campaign finance laws more than 1,100 times which, if enforced, could tally up to more than $500,000 in fines for his campaign.

Last week, Tim Russell, a long time and very close friend and cohort of Walker, was arrested for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars of funds from a veteran's fund and from conservative candidates. From the criminal complaint against Russell, we learned that he used that stolen money to pay for Walker's campaign site and for another website,, which Russell and possibly other members of Walker's county staff were promoting Walker's campaign, almost always on the taxpayers' dime.

Along the same line, there is still the original issue of Darlene Wink's admitted politicking during county time.

But there is another campaign violation by Team Walker that has not yet been reported as far as I can tell.

In the fall of 2009, a pro-Walker group, the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government, held a couple of rallies purportedly to support of Scott Walker's 2010 county budget, one which he was promoting as a 0% budget, meaning that his goal was to absolutely not raise taxes, no matter how many vulnerable citizens and workers he had to harm to do so.

One of these rallies was held at the Italian Community Center, near the Summerfest grounds.  From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker implored hundreds of people at an anti-tax rally Saturday to flood the County Board with phone calls demanding that supervisors uphold coming Walker vetoes that would reduce 2010 spending by $10 million and bring the budget back to a zero tax levy increase. 
And, based on recent history, the crowd at the Veto Super Rally event staged by Citizens for Responsible Government at the Italian Community Center will more than likely follow through.
While most people would admit that this was nothing more than a stunt to promote Walker as a gubernatorial candidate, it technically was a county event and Walker's appearance there was in his capacity of county executive.

And since Walker was there as county executive and this was an event based on a county issue, according to Wisconsin State Statute 11.36(2), it would be strictly forbidden for any political campaign activity to occur.

But, as one might have seen coming, this was not the case.

At the time of the event, I noticed something that caught my eye as being wrong and took a screen cap of it:

This is a capture of Jill Bader's Twitter feed at the time.  Bader was Walker's campaign spokeswoman, yet as one can see, she was at this non-political event.

And not only was she there, she was working in her official capacity as one of Walker's campaign staffers as highlighted in this second screen capture:

At the risk of overemphasizing the point, as one can see, even though Bader shouldn't have even been there in the first place, in order to keep it from having the appearance of being inappropriate, not only was she indeed there, but she was ready to set up a meeting between Walker the candidate and @BadgerBlogger, who is Patrick Dorwin, proprietor and head blogger of the ultra conservative blog of the same name.

Given Walker's long history of campaign shenanigans like this, one must wonder how many more similar incidents might have occurred.  And then one might very well wonder, and hope, that District Attorney John Chisolm is aware of this.


  1. Great post, you are on a roll, keep it up!

  2. What Larry said!

  3. When Scott Walker and (Milwaukee's mayor) Tom Barrett were both running for Governor in 2010, and export-jobs-to-China Republican Ron Johnson was challenging incumbent Russ Feingold (the *only* Senator brave enough to vote against the misnamed Patriot Act!), we went down to Milwaukee's LaborFest with the express goal of (a) hearing Obama speak in person, and (b) getting campaign bumper stickers and signs for Barrett and Feingold.

    Obama's speech was great, no surprise there. But we could not, for love nor money, get stickers or signs for any candidate.

    LaborFest was a nonpartisan event, and every candidate there (or in Feingold's case not there, at his hometown event, but with Milwaukee office staff who attended) abided by that rule strictly, not even giving out pinback buttons, dammit.

    We left empty-handed and frustrated, but at least aware how far ahead principle stood vs political advantage in those candidates' priorities. (Unlike, say, Walker's.)

    But both Barrett and Feingold *lost* those elections....

    By the way, now WEAC and AFSCME won't endorse Barrett for Governor because they regard him as *insufficiently anti-Walker* -- really, really funny in view of the history of friction those two have, up close in Milwaukee.

    Ooooohh, but he didn't speak up vociferously in favor of the recall!

    That's right. As Mayor of Milwaukee, representing people on both sides, he didn't *politicize his office* by using it as a bully pulpit for a partisan issue against a recent (and possibly near-future) rival. Good for him.

    Had the positions been reversed, Scott Walker *wouldn't have hesitated* to use his office for just such partisan advantage (witness how he's used the offices he's held!)... thereby winning the approval of WEAC and AFSCME, no doubt. Pfah.