Whether or not Walker has broken the law is one thing, but listening to him in his almost obsequious dialogue with a person he assumes to be perhaps the major recent player in shady campaign financing, not just in Wisconsin, but here in Alaska, should be alarming.
Did Wisconsin Scott Walker break the law during his phone conversation with a prank caller posing as right-wing billionaire David Koch? At least one campaign finance watchdog, the Public Campaign Action Fund, is exploring whether Walker violated a ban against political coordination in Wisconsin.
Walker believed he was speaking to Koch who—along with his brother, Charles Koch—is among the richest men in the US and major funders of dozens of right-wing groups. The political action committee of Koch Industries, the brothers' business empire, was a top donor to Walker's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. In reality, though, Walker was actually speaking with Ian Murphy, a self-described gonzo journalist and editor of the Buffalo Beast. The prank has stirred up a major national controversy, with critics crying foul over Walker's comments to the faux "David Koch."
In his conversation, Walker says that GOP lawmakers in "swing areas" will need support for their decision to back Walker's controversial budget repair bill, which would cut collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions, among other changes. Walker appears to hint that the fake David Koch could be the one to provide that outside support to those swing-district Republicans. Here's the full exchange:
Gov. Walker: "After this in some of the coming days and weeks ahead, particularly in some of these more swing areas, a lot of these guys are going to need, they don’t need initially ads for them, but they’re going to need a message out. Reinforcing why this was a good thing to do for the economy, a good thing to do for the state. So to the extent that message is out over and over again is certainly a good thing."
Ian Murphy (pretending to be David Koch): "Right, right. We’ll back you any way we can."
"If Wisconsin law forbids coordination with political donors similar to federal law, Gov. Scott Walker is not just in political trouble, but in legal hot water," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for the Public Campaign Action Fund.
There are several looming questions here. First, can what Walker said actually be considered collaboration? And does the law even apply if the caller is a prankster? Adam Smith, spokesman for the Public Campaign Action Fund, says the group is looking closely at Wisconsin law to answer these questions and take appropriate action, if any at all.
Here's the phone call:
I've witnessed political candidates in their phone or live discussions with major donors. I've performed political functions for one major donor, Bill Weimar, and watched him collude with Alaska politicians. A lot of sleaze comes down.
The harsh reality in this case, is that Walker was so ready to do anything - even break the law - for his corporate master, who is manipulating Tea Party activists and stirring up the anti-union pot all across the nation.
I hope the people of Wisconsin are beginning to put their new governor into perspective.
Update - 3:15 p.m:
The top six items from the prank call:
1. Walker and the Senate Republicans are conspiring to withhold Democratic lawmakers' paychecks.
2. Walker sees billionaire David Koch as "one of us."
3. Walker is planning to threaten state workers with layoffs.
4. Walker has a plan to lie to Senate Democrats and pass the bill while they are not aware of the vote.
5. Walker considered planting fake protesters to cause trouble among the real protesters.
6. Walker is corrupt.