Democrats Lodge Ethics Complaint Against Walker Over Prank Call With "David Koch"
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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's complete disdain for his constituents is catching up to him -- and it may cost him his job.
Despite the protests of hundreds of thousands of labor supporters across Wisconsin over several weeks, Walker remains defiant on his union-busting bill. Yesterday, State Dems -- still holding their ground in Illinois, despite what Walker says -- sent the governor a letter requesting a meeting near the WI-IL border, seeking to "formally resume serious discussions" and negotiate. The Governor completely dismissed the Dems' efforts, exhibiting his Koch-given solipsism, and blamed the entire mess on them.
In an interview with Cenk Uygur yesterday, Obey stated, "It is apparent to me that if the Governor does not engage in meaningful compromise, he will be recalled. Because when you go after the jugular, and try to put workers out of business, that is when they will mean business in the way they respond."
Uygur seemed a little surprised at the notion, and asked Obey to elaborate. “I frankly dislike intensely the idea of recalls... but when someone with the power of the governor oversteps that line as much as he has, and when he becomes so abuse of the dignity of workers, when he becomes so abusive of their basic rights to defend themselves in the economic arena, then you're left with very little choice.”
While Walker cannot legally be recalled until he's served a full year in office -- eight months from now -- it's unlikely Wisconsin voters will forget the governor's behavior. There's already at least one petition out there, along with numerous Recall Scott Walker Facebook groups.
But that's not where the threats to Walker end.
Ever since he smugly detailed his union-busting tactics on a recorded prank call with 'David H. Koch,' questions have been raised over whether his statements violated the law. Yesterday, the speculation was set in stone, when state Democrats filed an official complaint with the WI Government Accountability Board, accusing him of violating campaign finance and ethics laws. Citing 24 separate infractions, the complaint alleges illegal third-party coordination, misuse of the Attorney General's office for political motivations, and reckless endangerment of public safety when he discussed with staff 'planting' troublemakers to 'scare the public.' Many of these violations are punishable by hefty fines and substantial prison sentences.
Moreover, the complaint describes in detail the audacity and disrespect of Walker's actions, citing more than once the public's incapacity to reach the Governor's office, yet 'Koch,' a 'wealthy out-of-state financier,' was able to get a direct line to Walker right away. As WI Democratic Chairman Mike Tate told TPM, "It [the call] showed Scott Walker as a grandiose plotter who thinks of himself as a national figure in the effort to distort the balance of power between working people and big corporations who seek to transform Wisconsin into a low-wage, low-benefits backwater."
Or, as Wisconsin electrician Kathleen Slamka, notes in a Progressive Change Campaign Committee's ad, “This is Republican class warfare... an attack on the middle class. This is a battle we need to win.” Incidentally, the PCCC has ' just raised $530,000 online from 23,700 grassroots donors -- and are expanding their buy for the third time.'
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.