Hilarious Koch Prank May Reveal Serious Ethics Violations By Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
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Kids and Hired Thugs
Walker also says he considers then rejected the idea of hiring trouble makers to disrupt the rallies which have been packed with elementary school children and highs schoolers. When fake Koch says “We’ll back you any way we can. But what we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.” Walker says: “we thought about that," but he rejected the idea in case it back-fired. He didn’t want to “scare the public into thinking maybe the governor as to settle to avoid all these problems.”
Wisconsin Ethics Rules
Wisconsin has the toughest ethics law in the nation. Public officials are prohibited from soliciting or receiving anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence or reward official actions. The rules against “pay to play politics” say a public official is prohibited from taking official action in exchange for political contributions or anything else of value for the benefit of a candidate, political party, or any person making certain candidate-related communications. You can’t even take a cup of coffee from a lobbyist. You can’t even take a cup of coffee from a lobbyist.
Earlier in the call, Walker had asked the fake Koch for help “spreading the word,” especially in the "swing districts," in defense of his determination to break the unions and help get calls in to shore up his Republican allies in the legislature. Walker benefited from a high-dollar "issue ad" campaigns by groups funded by Koch group before the election. Americans for Prosperity, which Koch chairs, promoted and funded a couple thousand counter-protestors last Saturday.
On the same day that the scandal broke here in Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity went up with a $342,000 TV ad campaign in support of Walker – an enormous sum in a state like Wisconsin. If such ads are effectively coordinated with the Governor's office they may be subject to rules requiring greater disclosure of expenditures and contributors.
Toward the end of the call, the fake Koch offers to fly Walker out to California, after they "crush the bastards," and show him "a good time," to which Walker responds with enthusiasm in his voice "All right, that would be outstanding." But, Wisconsin rules bar state officials from taking action for something of value. After Walker agrees to the junket, the fake Koch adds, "And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well" to which Walker responds, "Well that's just it."
So, while Walker did not apparently not recognize Koch's voice, he certainly recognized his name, eagerly recounting his efforts to crush collective bargaining in Wisconsin to an out-of-state billioniare backer and thanking him for all Koch had done for him. The entire conversation raises ethical concerns that warrant much closer examination, especially with Wisconsin's tough pay to play rules. A week ago the Center for Media and Democracy filed an open records request for the Governor's phone records, email records, and other communications. Perhaps these records will help us understand all the influences behind the Governor's recent radical actions.
Wisconsin is not Illinois, it has a reputation for being a squeaky clean state and lesser scandals have brought down political officials. Governor Walker likes to complain of “outside agitators.” Hard to imagine an agitator with more influence and money than the Koch-family.