Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walker's Long History Of Pay For Play

Ever since the Koch Brothers bought the governor's office, we have seen Scott Walker paring off hunks of Wisconsin and giving them to his campaign donors in return.

We've seen everything from his trying to give the north woods to Gogebic Taconite to giving cushy jobs to lobbyist's sons to rewarding the generous road builders to giving big tax breaks to his corporate cronies.  And he paid for his generosity on the backs of the workers and the poor.

But these horrific and unethical pay for play schemes are nothing new to Walker.

In what is being reported as something John Doe is looking at in the ongoing Walkergate saga, there was pay for play with his campaign staff and/or county staff (who can really tell the difference anymore?) and the commercial real estate brokers (who again blur in with the county/campaign blend).  This edition involved giving  county taxpayer money to seal a deal, thereby making a nice profit for his people, in order to rent a high-priced office building while county-owned building sat underused or even vacant.

There is also Walker's questionable relationship with Air Tran, who decided to sponsor his campaign Harley Davidson ride around the state at about the same time Walker just gave them a big expansion at Mitchell International Airport to serve as their base.

And thanks to a savvy and observant commenter who pointed out this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Dan Bice and Cary Spivac which showed Walker was double talking and double dealing during his first campaign run for governor:
When Scott Walker was a Republican gubernatorial candidate, his position on accepting donations during the state budget season was clear: Don't do it.

"That way, you remove any appearance that fund raising during the budget time has anything to do with the budget process," Walker said in January, two months before he dropped out of the governor's race.

Good advice - too bad Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker didn't get the message.

If he had, Walker would not have sent out a letter begging folks to send his campaign a few bucks right now - while the county budget was being debated.

Not only did the solicitation go out a week after he introduced the $1.26 billion budget, but Walker's plea uses the budget fight as the sales pitch for contributions.

"We have bold and creative ideas to balance the county budget," Walker wrote to some 8,000 supporters this month. "On the other hand, they (County Board members) continue to resurrect the same tired and old tax and spend ideas."

Then Walker - who is up for re-election this spring - passed the collection plate.

"To combat the attacks we will get from the liberal county board members and the special interest groups, I need your help," he wrote. "We have a powerful message of hope for the future, but we cannot depend on the media to get it out.

"That's why I hope you'll take a moment and renew your support of my campaign through a generous gift of $500, $250, $100, $50 or $25 today."

John Hiller, Walker's campaign chairman, defended the letter, arguing there was no contradiction between Walker's words and actions.

"He, in spirit, complied with what he was proposing," Hiller said.

Oh! John Hiller! We've heard that name recently. He was Walker's campaign treasurer for 18 years before Walker suddenly decided he wasn't up for the job. The fact that they started looking at the shady Reuss Building deal mentioned above had nothing to do with it, I'm sure.
But there's more (emphasis mine):
Curious as to what Walker thinks, we called him at the courthouse. His flack Rod McWilliams wasn't very helpful.

First McWilliams was aghast that we even asked him - a county worker - for a statement about a campaign matter.

We explained to McWilliams that we didn't want his opinion. Rather we wanted to talk to Walker - you know, the guy who mixed county business with politics in the first place. So, we again asked McWilliams to ask Walker to call us.

McWilliams refused to take the message.

"That's not how we do things," he lectured, explaining there is a wall between campaign and county business.

Hmm, that's one tall wall. Sounds like McWilliams has been listening to the Walker who ran for governor, not the one who is using the county budget fight to raise campaign cash.
And even before any of these examples, there are my good friends at the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government. Before they started with filing false and falsified charges against me or attempting to recall popular politicians, they were the front group that led the charge in recalling Walker's predecessor and getting Walker elected. In exchange for their favor, Walker tried to give them some office space in the Milwaukee County Courthouse (which is illegal. Furthermore, Walker worked at getting the county to buy into Six Sigma, which CRG's ring leader, Chris Kleismet, was involved with.

As you can see, Walker has a long history of corrupt and unethical behavior.  So the reprehensible stunts he's pulling now or when he was running for governor doesn't surprise me on bit.

What does surprise me is that after more than ten years of it, he hasn't gotten any better at concealing it.  Then again, I shouldn't be surprised at that.  I also know that Walker's always been a slow learner.


  1. When the heck are they going to charge him with these crimes? Everyone knows he's completely divided this state and pitted neighbor against neighbor. But his supporters insist that what's being investigated is no big deal...at the very same time they rant about all the taxpayer money they "waste" on public workers and the big unions. I just want him arrested before the recall, so there is no recall. No matter which side wins, the divide will only be bigger and the scars deeper.

  2. 2006 Marquette Tribune story reports "'Mafia' run county exec’s office."

    Story provides a handy Walkergate scorecard. Indictments, John Doe searches, mentions in court filings, John Doe witnesses; the readers may play match that "Marquette Mafia" name to the Walkergate happening.