Big Money backs Scott Walker

UPDATED: Monday, May 28, 2012 10:29
PAGE 1 of 1

Saturday, May 26, 2012 4:31 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

Been watching this; Citizens United has all but destroyed the concept of "democracy" in this country...let's see if they do it again.

Look at the big money Scott Walker has raised outside the state.

In fundraising letters featuring pictures of the mass rallies at the Capitol, Walker is busy scaring conservatives around the country into contributing to his campaign. "Big Labor Bosses know what they want, when they want it, and how they're going to get it," Walker wrote in one letter. "Their naked power grab starts here in Wisconsin and then radiates across the country. Mark my words, if they barge and bully and get their way here, your state's next."

Or, as Congressman Paul Ryan put it, "Progressivism was founded here in Wisconsin. The battle between conservatives and progressives is coming to a crescendo this year."

Out-of-state conservatives have responded by contributing 60% of Walker's record-breaking $25 million, and by turning Walker into a "right-wing rock star" on the national fundraising circuit, as opponent Tom Barrett put it. The billionaires who financed the Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich campaigns kicked in enough money to catapult Walker into the same fundraising league as the Republican presidential candidates with his $13 million raised in just three months (ahead of Gingrich and slightly behind Santorum). Santorum backer Foster Friess, Amway founder Richard DeVos, and Newt's sugar daddy, Sands hotel and casino owner Sheldon Adelson, along with the powerful Koch brothers, are financing Walker's campaign.

By primary day, Walker had out-fundraised the Democrats 6-to-1, if you add the whole Democratic field together. But that doesn't mean he will win.

"One of Scott Walker's great weaknesses is his reliance on outside money," says Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "That could be turned against him, instead of the Democrats complaining that not enough money is coming from outside Wisconsin on their side."

Arguably, the big-dollar fundraising, most of which is spent on TV ads, is less relevant in the Wisconsin recall than in other elections, because there are so few voters who have not already made up their minds. The difference between winning and losing will depend entirely on each side's get-out-the-vote effort: the ground war, not the TV air war. Walker, McCabe points out, has already spent $20 million on ads. "And it hasn't moved the needle an inch," he says.

"The political class is so used to having political consultants tell them there's only one way to win elections. And that's raising truckloads of money and spending it on political ads," McCabe says.

But TV advertising itself might not be such a powerful tool for long. "It will be some handheld device that isn't even invented yet," McCabe predicts. "TV will go the way of the dinosaur. But I see no sign that either party is looking that far ahead and seeing what the next wave will look like."

If the Wisconsin recall succeeds, it will not be because the Obama campaign or "big labor bosses from out of state" poured money into our state. It will be because a lot of determined citizens decided to ignore conventional wisdom and take a flier on a democracy, in the face of overwhelming money on other side.

What's most amusing is that, for all that money, what has it bought him so far?

New polling confirms the Wisconsin recall is a dead heat, where Scott Walker cannot consistently get 50%—and has never broken 50 in any public or private survey—despite tens of millions of dollars spent to cover up his worst-in-the-nation jobs record.

While still not quite on par with the mega-millions in spending from Scott Walker via billionaire out-of-state backers, ad traffic in the Wisconsin recall race has come much closer to parity, and with it, the new polling suggests what we knew all along – this race is a dead heat that will come down to turnout.

So for all his mega-millions, Walker hasn't bought anything but a "dead heat". Here's hoping money doesn't buy the election; it would be nice to know democracy still exists SOMEWHERE!


Saturday, May 26, 2012 4:44 AM


America loves a winner!

Well, not Union big money, but still...

Scott Walker's polices are working. Just like he said. Hope the recall nonsense falls flat on its face.

" We're all just folk. " - Mal

" AU, that was great, LOL!! " - Chrisisall

"The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein


Saturday, May 26, 2012 5:26 AM


The DNC is bailing on the Recall, they can't afford to throw away the money. The Demorats and their Union whores are about to make asses of themselves AGAIN! I will laugh at their pain.


Saturday, May 26, 2012 5:59 AM




Originally posted by AURaptor:
Scott Walker's polices are working. Just like he said.

Citation needed.

I do not fear God, I fear the ignorance of man.


Monday, May 28, 2012 10:29 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...

Actually, it will be easy for him to find cites...there's crowing all over the internet that his reforms "worked". The problem is, the reasons the reforms appear to be working isn't made clear, his intentions may have been more political than in the state's best interest, and whether they will be good for the state in the LONG TERM is highly questionble.

Unveiling deep budget cuts to schools and local governments one year ago, Gov. Scott Walker assured voters that the reductions could be more than offset by cuts to public workers' compensation.

One year later there is no definitive statewide data on their competing claims. There is only mixed anecdotal evidence showing that the cuts to workers' compensation made up for much of the cuts in state aid - hundreds of millions of dollars worth - but not necessarily all of them.

The savings for local governments this year from Walker's "tools" depended on a range of factors, from whether they had union contracts in place to whether they were asking employees to cover a significant share of their health insurance. Next year, local governments will have potentially greater financial challenges. They will have more flexibility with their labor costs, but local officials will have to consider how to retain good employees at a time when many longtime public workers are retiring.

In Brookfield, the collective bargaining changes and agreements the city struck with unions regarding pension contributions have helped the city make up for the loss of $280,000 in state aid this year, city Finance Director Robert Scott said.

More worrisome for Brookfield, Scott said, is how the city will fare down the road under the state-imposed limits on property tax levies. "The levy limits, particularly if property value growth or new construction doesn't occur in local communities for the foreseeable future, that's more onerous than the reductions in" state aid, Scott said.

"Schools and communities around the state have been thrown into crisis because Governor Walker wants to reward out-of-state corporations with taxpayer money that should go to schools, health care and public infrastructure," Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk spokesman Scot Ross said.

To help balance a $3 billion state deficit, Walker and Republicans cut aid to local governments sharply in the 2011-'13 budget and also put tight limits on property taxes. They also repealed most collective bargaining for all public employees except police and firefighters, ending bargaining over benefits, overtime and work conditions.

A survey of most state schools released in November by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators found that those districts' staffs were reduced by 3,368 through retirements and layoffs - triple the reduction of the previous school year. Walker's office has pointed out that the bulk of the layoffs - though not necessarily the numbers of unfilled retirees' posts - came from districts that still had labor contracts that blocked savings from employee benefits.

Separate estimates by the League of Municipalities projected that this year's saving would cover about 70% of the cuts in 36 large cities in Wisconsin, president Dan Thompson said. But that estimate was largely done a year ago and leaves out hundreds of smaller communities, Thompson said.

Few districts have been as affected as Milwaukee Public Schools, with almost $82 million in state aid cuts and an overall budget reduction of 13.5%. MPS resorted to cutting programs and laying off employees, with about 119 teachers and 165 educational assistants remaining laid off today.

The Hamilton School District in Waukesha County used the employee compensation cuts and other tools to close a $2.6 million gap in the district's budget this year created by state aid and tax levy cuts. The district saw a higher than usual number of retirements last year - 21 at the end of 2010-'11 as compared with eight at the end of 2009-'10 - but it replaced most of them. Hamilton did not have to reduce any services, but Bryan Ruud, business manager, said the changes come with a price.

"The trade-off will be balancing the reduced costs against attracting staff into the district or profession," he said.

The city of Milwaukee changed its health care plan design for most city workers, saving $10 million, and raised the employees' share of premiums, saving $4 million.

Like the state, the city now requires employees to pay 12% of their health care premiums. City officials saved $5 million more after the state budget allowed them to unilaterally change their health plan design for police and firefighters, though the police union is challenging $3.7 million of the saving in court. Another package of benefit and work rule changes approved separately saves about $900,000, city economist Dennis Yaccarino said.

Together with a pay freeze that started several years ago, the benefit changes that were made have taken a toll on employee morale.

"There's a lot of complaints and a lot of concerns" about health care, employee relations director Maria Monteagudo said. "If the economy was better, I think more people would be leaving for other jobs."

The City of Waukesha has not fared well. The city lost $710,500 in state aid and saved $372,000 from nonunion employees, said city finance manager Steve Neaman. The city is self-insured for health insurance, and saving realized by higher contributions are the result of previously negotiated contracts, Neaman said.

Waukesha Metro Transit expects to lose $220,000 in transit aid this year. But because all but one of its workers are in the private sector, no offsetting pension saving was realized or will be realized, transit manager Robert Johnson said.

Milwaukee County has much bigger problems. Milwaukee County began phasing in higher employee health and pension contributions in 2009. County Executive Chris Abele responded by piling on additional health care costs for county workers and retirees, imposing a steep cut in the sheriff's budget and smaller cuts to other departments and county-subsidized programs. Four dozen sheriff's deputies were laid off; county parks lost $2.2 million; the county cut in half its annual $3 million subsidy for local paramedic programs; and arts groups lost 15% of their county subsidies. It costs $1 more to get into the zoo and a dollar more to park there. The 2012 county budget cut 510 positions overall - more than 10% of the total from last year.

"There was a lot of pain," Supervisor Patricia Jursik said.

She credited county workers for shouldering the extra benefit costs, particularly deputies who have retained union bargaining but still agreed in negotiations to shoulder the same health care costs as other county workers and even steeper pension contributions.

Supervisor Mark Borkowski said piling more benefit costs on employees probably can't be done again, he said.

"We've got no more rabbits in the hat," Borkowski said.
other words, for all the touting of his plans having worked, they did so on the backs of working families, and time will tell whether they just helped the state financially at the cost of the people, or brought actual, long-term improvements.

Then there's

County officials say the various aid cuts in the 2011-’13 state budget added up to $28.7 million. Those included trims to shared revenue, transportation aid, child support enforcement and money for locking up juvenile offenders.

The governor’s staff doesn’t dispute any of that. However, they argue the county also saved $4.9 million because the state assumed control of more than 300 county public assistance employees and that number should be counted as an offset to the aid cut.

But the $4.9 million figure was an estimate of the county’s long-term liability for pensions and health care for those workers when they retire -- not an annual operating cost.

The agreement on the state takeover of those workers ended an annual payment to the county intended to cover a bit of that pension liability. It did not relieve the county of its remaining anticipated pension costs for that group.

Werwie, the governor’s spokesman, argued it was fair game to count the $4.9 million as savings because the state agreed to pick up retirement costs of the newer public aid workers who had not yet been vested with county pension rights.

But those few newer employees were not figured in the county’s ongoing pension liability for the lion’s share of the transferred employees.

So that money shouldn’t be counted as savings.
also the fact that Walker is currently under investigation for lying to Congress

There is no longer any question that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s sworn testimony before Congress has been contradicted by videotaped evidence of the controversial governor discussing with his top campaign donor a “divide and conquer” political scheme to undermine organized labor and make Wisconsin “a completely red state.”

Now, however, there is new evidence to suggest that Walker’s testimony to Congress about when he began preparing his anti-labor legislation—which sparked mass demonstrations and a recall movement that will culminate with a June 5 vote on whether to recall the governor—was not truthful.

The growing controversy over the governor’s testimony led three veteran members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee—who had previously contacted committee chairman Darrell Issa with their concerns—to write Walker directly on Friday.

The ranking member of the committee, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, has joined Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy and Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly in asking Walker whether he would like to withdraw the testimony he gave before the committee in April 2011.

That’s an unsettling challenge for a sitting governor.

But Walker is in an unsettling circumstance.

The governor told the committee that he had not engaged in discussions about enacting anti-labor legislation in order to undermine political opponents. But there is now video evidence that he had just such a discussion with Diane Hendricks, a billionaire campaign donor who would eventually give Walker’s campaign $510,000, in January 2011.

In commentary accompanying the letter, the staff of the Oversight Committee notes: “Despite testifying under oath that he never ‘had a conversation with respect to [his] actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base,’ a newly uncovered video taken three months earlier shows Walker explaining to one of his biggest financial donors that he plans to use a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy against public sector workers in order to turn Wisconsin into a ‘completely red state.’?”

This demand may not be the last of the Congressional concerns about whether Walker lied to the committee.

When he testified in April 2011, Walker told the committee that he launched his assault on collective-bargaining rights for public employees and teachers in response to moves by public-sector unions. The governor volunteered that “in December, after the elections but before I was sworn into office, the public sector unions and the state rushed to the lame-duck session Legislature and to the Governor and tried to pass through contracts that would have locked us into a dire financial situation.”

Around the same time, in a media interview, Walker said, “We don’t have a specific plan yet” for dealing with the unions.

Now, however, drafting documents obtained by a Madison radio station, WTDY, have revealed that Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau was asked to begin drafting Walker’s anti-labor legislation in November, weeks before the legislative session Walker described to Congress. Cathlene Hanaman, the Deputy Chief at the Legislative Reference Bureau, has confirmed that she was assigned in November to draft the legislation. In addition, while the governor claimed he was forced to act against the unions because of a budget emergency, it has now been confirmed that Department of Administration budget specialists were working on the project in December.

In other words, neither the timeline nor the circumstances that Walker described to the Congressional committee appear to have been accurate.

“There are serious questions about the governor’s testimony that need to be answered,” says Connolly, the Virginia congressman who questioned Walker when he appeared before the Oversight Committee and who now is asking the governor to explain the contradictions in his testimony.

“My issue here is that people tell the truth, especially when they’re under oath before a Congressional committee, and before anybody casts a vote in this pending recall election, they’re entitled to know if the two candidates are telling the truth. In this case, this is under oath,” says Connolly. “This isn’t a pass off statement at a press conference. This is prepared testimony and answers to questions in a Congressional hearing under oath.”
only has to look at the enormous amount of money spent on the recall by right-wing money to wonder who benefits from Walker's plans:

If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins next week's recall election, the big bucks the Republican governor and his allies have spent to run TV commercials will be a contributing factor.

And the ad wars over the recall contest may give Wisconsin a dubious honor this election year.

Walker, Republican Party committees, independent tea party groups and other grassroots fiscal conservative organizations have spent around $8.65 million to run ads in the recall campaign, from November through last week, according to data from Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks and estimates the costs of campaign ads running on the air.

That's a considerable amount more than the $5.10 million that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's Democratic challenger, Democratic Party committees and independent progressive groups have spent to run commercials.

In the two week period from May 10 through May 23, Walker and his supporters shelled out around $2.5 million to run ads, including nearly $1.1 million from the governor's campaign, while Barrett's campaign has spent just under $650,000, with the total pro-Barrett spending at around $1.1 million.

Walker holds a single digit advantage over Barrett in the two most recent independent polls.

Not much bang for the bucks, seems to me.

If one looks at HOW his reforms have "worked", his lying to Congress showing it was more about killing unions than the welfare of the state, what the results of his reforms will be in the long term, and who's ponying up for his recall campaign, a picture emerges that makes one wonder if the reforms will actually "work". He did what he did on the backs of working Americans, and for questionable motives; only time will tell what the outcome will be.






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