Scandal Around Mistress of Wisc. Recall Target and Walker Ally Grows

The story behind [Wisconsin State Senator] Randy Hopper's mistress receiving a state job at a salary 35 percent higher than her predecessor takes another twist. WKOW reports that she never formally applied for the job:

State records released to WKOW27 News show candidates for various jobs in Governor Walker’s administration were passed over despite recommendations from high-level officials, while a woman with ties to Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) was hired to a position with an immediate salary increase, without formally being recorded as a job applicant.

Scott Walker's administration is trying to explain this away, but their varying explanations don't hold up. For one, they claim that Cass does not appear among the formal applicants because she was out of state. However, so were several other applicants:

During the compilation of the record of applicants, Governor Walker’s spokesperson Cullen Werwie said Cass was in Washington, D.C. helping Reince Priebus’ successful bid to become Republican National Committee chairman, and was not included in the formal list.

Several applicants in the records were listed as being out-of-state.

This was a ridiculous explanation to begin with. Emails and faxes work across state lines just fine. A huge percentage of Americans have applied for jobs in other states. It's not hard.

Further, the Walker administration earlier claimed an entirely different reason for why Cass did not appear among the list of formal applicants. Over the weekend, they said it was because she put her name in late in in the hiring process:

Interestingly, Cass' name does not appear on a lengthy list of job applicants to Walker's transition team.

Werwie said that's because she put her name in the mix late in the process.

However, not only has the Walker administration changed their reasons for why Cass did not appear on the list of formal applicants, it's questionable about whether Cass actually put her name in late in the process. An email Cass sent to Walker's chief of staff on December 28th indicates that she had already been talking with him about getting a job in the administration for "a few weeks." From the email (PDF):

Hi Keith,

Just wanted to touch base with you. I enjoyed talking with you a few weeks ago and I'm excited about the news I read today regarding Governor-elect Walker's plan for the Department of Commerce.

Cass was talking with Walker's chief of staff about an administration job since at least early December, two months before she was hired. That doesn't sound very early in the process, and certainly not preventative of actually filing a job application.

Then again, why file a job application when you are guaranteed a job? The last line in the email Cass sent to Walker's chief of staff on December 28th seems to imply that being hired was a foregone conclusion:

With the RNC vote coming up in a few weeks and Governor-elect Walker's inauguration this week, I was wondering if you had any more details about when you would have a spot ready for me?

Wait—"when" a spot would be ready, not "if" a spot would be ready? And not even a specific job, just that she was promised one would be found for her, no matter what jobs were available? If anything, that promise seems like the reason why she didn't formally apply. There was no need—a job appears to  have been set aside.

The Walker administration finally tries to defend itself by pointing out that many of the formal job applicants had recommendations from state Senators but did not receive jobs. Well, okay, but how many of those job applicants are in romantic relationships with Republican state senators, and not just getting letters of recommendation? That's a gaping difference.

The Walker administration doesn't think there was anything untoward about hiring someone for a state job with a large salary increase, even though that person did not even send a job application, even though that person was in a romantic relationship with a Republican state senator, and even though the administration was simultaneously proposing slashing salaries for almost all state workers. This is reminiscent of the Walker administration not thinking there was anything untoward about a Governor spending 20 minutes on the phone with a billionaire campaign donor who just called out of the blue and didn't make an appointment. They apply a completely different set of rules for close political allies than they do for everyone else.


The Daily Kos / By Chris Bowers

Posted at March 24, 2011, 9:14am

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