Gov. Scott Walker

Scott Walker Using $100 Million Of Taxpayer Money To Fight Off Recall?

Scott Walker on February 18, 2011Stating it clearly and concisely, Scott Walker is a crook, period.

Forbes

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker heads into the final stretch in his effort to hang onto his job, he is finding it increasingly more difficult to make his case honestly— or without using huge sums of taxpayer money to sway voters.

While life would likely have been easier for the Governor had collective bargaining remained the key issue of the campaign, now that the election has become largely about Walker’s record on job creation, the polls reveal that things are becoming increasingly more difficult for Scott Walker. Wisconsin currently competes with Nevada for the dubious title of worst job creator in the nation, resulting in the polls tightening into a dead heat,  leaving the Governor with reason to be worried.

In the effort to move withering public opinion in his direction, the Governor has embarked on a campaign strategy highly dependent upon finding someone else to blame for the poor economic performance of his state. In the process, Walker has resorted to committing a huge amount of taxpayer money to aid in his political survival, while mounting a campaign that—to anyone paying attention—only serves to highlight his own failures over the past decade.

Not surprisingly, the ‘someone’ chosen by Walker to play the role of scapegoat is his recall election opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett of city of Milwaukee—a city with some of the most difficult poverty problems in the nation.

The effort kicked off ten days ago when, after fifteen months in the Governor’s chair where Walker has consistently cried poverty in the state budget as the rational for his many controversial moves, the Governor miraculously came up with $100 million to fund economic development in Milwaukee’s poorest areas—money Walker claims will come from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Board.

Even more surprising is the astonishing resemblance between the Walker scheme and the series of measures put forth by President Obama as the Governor’s proposal involves reoccupying foreclosed and vacant properties while making loans and venture capital money available to small businesses and industrial developers.

Of course, Scott Walker had been a vocal opponent of such proposals when uttered by the President.

Continue reading here…

Gov. Scott Walker To Use Foreclosure Settlement Money To Balance His Budget, Not Help Homeowners

If Scott Walker uses the Foreclosure Settlement that the Obama Administration negotiated with the banks, to by-pass those homeowners who qualify for that money, so that he can balance his budget, Walker may have just sealed his fate in the upcoming re-call election

Think Progress

Yesterday, 49 states joined the federal government in announcing a $26 billion settlement with five of the nation’s biggest banks over the banks’ foreclosure fraud abuses. The money from the settlement is meant to aid homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure or who find themselves underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

However, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) — whose high profile assault on workers’ rights has prompted a recall effort against him — isn’t planning to use the money to help homeowners. Under the terms of the settlement, Wisconsin is set to receive $140 million, $31.6 million of which comes directly to the state government. And Walker is planning to use $25.6 million of that money to help balance his state’s budget:

Of a $31.6 million payment coming directly to the state government, most of that money – $25.6 million – will go to help close a budget shortfall revealed in newly released state projections. [Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen], whose office said he has the legal authority over the money, made the decision in consultation with Walker.

“Just like communities and individuals have been affected, the foreclosure crisis has had an effect on the state of Wisconsin, in terms of unemployment. … This will offset that damage done to the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.

A memo from Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau released yesterday notes “it is anticipated that Wisconsin will receive $31.6 million. Based on discussions between the Attorney General and the administration, of the amounts received by the state, $25.6 million will be deposited to the general fund as GPR-Earned in 2011-12, and the remaining $6 million will be retained by the Department of Justice to be allocated at a later date.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) criticized Walker’s move, saying “not one dime [of the settlement] should be used to fund the unbalanced state budget.” Adding insult to injury, Walker has previously criticized using one-time settlement money to fill budget holes.

The settlement money already doesn’t come close to addressing the depths of the nation’s housing problem, though it will provide real relief to the people whom it does reach. But the money was certainly not intended to paper over state budget problems, particularly in a state whose governor assured everybody up and down that busting his state’s public unions was the key to fiscal solvency. (HT: Jessica Arp)

FIGHT TO OUST WALKER GOES BEYOND GOV’S EXPECTATIONS

This is far from over, but the one thing this does assure, is that Scott Walker will have to run for his seat again, and given the fact that one million signatures were collected to force a recall election, I’m not certain that he will win a second time.  In this case, I believe “voters remorse” will be the one driving force that will kick Walker out…

The Huffington Post

Democrats needed to collect 540,208 signatures to trigger a gubernatorial recall election against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). On Tuesday, they announced they had far exceeded that number, collecting more than one million signatures.

Tuesday was the deadline for recall organizers, led by the group United Wisconsin, to turn in their petitions. The number collected is 185 percent of the signatures required to force a recall election. Organizers also collected enough to trigger a recalls of the lieutenant governor and four Republican state senators.

The total went far beyond Walker’s expectations.

“From what they say, they’re probably going to turn in 720,000 today,” Walker said in an interview with right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh Tuesday afternoon. “That’s a lot of signatures, but they’ve been planning this since late last spring. They’ve got tons of money from the big government unions in Washington and around the country.”

A Walker recall is the next step in a campaign to oust state Republicans who pushed forward controversial budget legislation stripping state employees of their collective bargaining rights. In August, Democrats successfully recalled two Republican state senators from office, but they fell short of the three needed to take control of the chamber.

Continue reading here…

Scott Walker Recall Volunteers Say They Have Proof Of Intimidation By Opponents

Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker recall effort is turning out to be nasty and filled with dirty tricks from Scott Walker advocates.

The Huffington Post

Volunteers working for the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) captured a video this week that they claim is proof of the sort of intimidation and harassment they’ve been subjected to over the past month.

In the video, available at ABC affiliate WISN, a visibly upset Fred Frisby can be seen approaching the camera of Walker recall volunteer Steve Nagel while hurling obscenities and eventually making physical contact. Frisby was later arrested by local police and charged with disorderly conduct.

“I just thought this guy is out of control. I could just see the steam coming off his head. So I thought, ‘Wow, this could be serious,'” Nagel, who was out on a busy street in Brookfield, Wisconsin collecting petitions, told WISN.

Another volunteer, Steve Spieckerman said Frisby got angry after volunteers wouldn’t answer questions about what they didn’t like about Scott Walker.

“Do you pay health care? No, you don’t pay health care. You mooching off the system?” Frisby can be seen asking, before apparently grabbing Nagel’s camera.

“He turned around and he jammed the camera back in my chest and he put his fist up to my face and said, ‘How do you like that?'” Nagel said.

Some petitioners claim that this type of behavior has become typical in the recall campaign.

Volunteer Jim Brown told WISN that there are “a lot of people who flip us off, who yell at us and call us names,” but earlier reports suggest that some actions are more hostile than this.

There have been multiple reports of opponents to the Scott Walker recall effort destroying or defacing petitions, a felony act punishable by a $10,000 fine or up to 3 1/2 years in jail. Volunteers have also alleged more violent forms of intimidation, such as death threats, destruction of property and onereported incident in which a driver supposedly threatened petitioners with his vehicle.

Despite these claimed encounters, volunteers for the Scott Walker recall effort reported that they had collected more than 300,000 signatures as of the end of November, just 12 days after the beginning of the petition drive. They’ll need to collect 540,208 valid signatures by Jan. 17 in order to trigger a recall election.

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WALKER RECALL EFFORT THWARTED BY ‘DIRTY TRICKS’

This was expected and to me it’s unacceptable.  How is it in our Democracy, things like this are accepted as the norm?

The Huffington Post

Few races next year will carry as much symbolic importance as the campaign to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). His push to strip state workers of collective bargaining rights set off a nationwide debate over the role of unions and public workers and reenergized progressives who were still recovering from the tough losses they sustained during the 2010 elections.

Both sides recognize the importance of the campaign, which is also targeting the lieutenant governor and three Republican state senators. Progressive activists are working to collect enough petition signatures to force a recall of the governor, and Walker and his allies have already started an ad campaign in response.

Underlying all this is a scattered amount of isolated, underhanded activity that may be illegal. The past weekend even saw two arrests of recall opponents.

On Sunday, a man was arrested on allegations that he defaced recall petitions.

“The suspect stood in line to sign a petition and when given the petition clipboard, he scribbled out some names on the actual form, and the recall worker took the clipboard back, and he left the scene without any incident,” West Bend, Wis. police Sgt. Matt Rohlinger told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Continue reading here…

Walker’s New Plan: Charge Protesters Big Money

So much for First Amendment rights in Wisconsin…

TPMDC

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is rolling out a new strategy to deal with the waves of protests that have fallen upon the state Capitol, ever since he rolled out his anti-public employee union legislation, and which have given rise to the recall campaigns targeting him and other Republicans: Make the protesters pay for all the costs of the increased event security.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the Walker administration announced the new policy on Thursday, and it will be phased in by Dec. 16. Under the policy, groups of four or more people must request permits at least 72 hours in advance, for events at the state Capitol or other state buildings.

In addition, organizers would have to pay for the extra Capitol police officers, at a rate of $50 per hour per officer — plus costs for police officers brought in from outside agencies, according to the costs billed to the state. The police payment would have to be tendered in advance, as a requirement for getting a permit. Afterwards, organizers would then be charged for any clean-up costs.

The new rules have First Amendment experts asking some questions:

Edward Fallone, an associate professor at Marquette University Law School, said the possibility of charging demonstrators for police costs might be problematic because some groups might not be able to afford to pay.

“I’m a little skeptical about charging people to express their First Amendment opinion,” he said. “You can’t really put a price tag on the First Amendment.”…

Bob Dreps, a lawyer who handles First Amendment cases including work for the Journal Sentinel, noted that the state can put some restrictions on the “time, place and manner” of free speech. But he said it was “laughable” to define a rally as four or more people.

“They still have to be reasonable on their face,” Dreps said of the rules.

When asked for comment, state Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski told TPM: “This is more evidence of Scott Walker running Wisconsin like a Banana Republic, with no regard for our traditions or norms. This is an administration obsessed with quashing dissent and demeaning all democratic tools available to citizens who right now are rising up against it. It is un-American.”

Continue reading here…

Conservatives Plot to Burn, Shred, and Sabotage Scott Walker Recall Effort

The fact that Conservatives always want to play dirty, will be the chief reason for their loss in the upcoming Scott Walker recall…

Mother Jones

This post has been updated. Click here for the latest.

A group of self-identified conservatives say they plan to sabotage the effort to recallWisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, which begins on Tuesday, by burning and shredding recall petitions they’ve collected and misleading Wisconsinites about the recall process.

These plans, discussed in Facebook posts that were first reported by the blog PolitiScoop, entail posing as recall supporters and gathering signatures, only to later destroy the petitions. They also include telling Wisconsinites that they can only sign one recall petition (which is false—they can sign different petitions as long as they each correspond to a different organization) and directing signature collectors to the homes of registered sex offenders. (Requests for comment were sent to each of the Facebook posters who allowed messages from other users.)

In one post, Will R. Jenkins says, “I’ll be able to destroy 15-20K signatures.” If things go well, he adds, he might even “be able to destroy upwards of 15-20% of the entire collected ballots in the state of Wisconsin”:

Jenkins’ Facebook profile lists his profession as “UNION SLAVE LABORER” at the Kenosha Unified School District, located in southeast Wisconsin. His description reads, “Dealing with white trash, illegal immigrants, and criminal gang black kids isn’t fun and games.” Jenkins’ interests are listed as “Greeting A Liberal,” “Beating A Liberal,” Strangling A Liberal,” Burying a Dead Body,” and “Having a Few Beers.”

Another person posting under the name Terry Dipper quips, “I bet I can heat my house the whole winter with what I collect”:

Poster Matt Wynns in Eagle, Wisconsin, doubles down on the idea of burning recall petitions:

And finally Facebook users Matt Wynns and Terry Dipper discuss telling Wisconsinites that it’s illegal to sign more than one recall petition—a false statement:

(You can read more of these posts at PolitiScoop, which posted nine different screen shots from Facebook.)

Michael Maistelman, a Wisconsin attorney and election law expert who reviewed screenshots of the comments, says the postings could raise serious legal issues if the plan is to tamper with official recall petitions. “If a person fraudulently solicits recall petitions and then destroys those petitions, they will probably go to jail,” Maistelman says. “The law is very clear on this.”

[UDPATE]: Reid Magney, a spokesman from Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, says destroying or defacing an official recall petition would violate state law. (Here’s the relevant statute.) Such a violation, he adds, would be a class I felony in Wisconsin, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to three-and-a-half years in jail.

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VIDEO: WI’s Gov. Scott Walker Meets Occupy Chicago & the People’s Mic…

I’m actually a couple of days late with this report out of Chicago but in my opinion it’s priceless and timeless.

This is what Democracy looks like!

The Brad Blog

Breakfast in America on Thursday, in Chicago, with WI’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker, after Occupiers had recently been rounded up and mass arrested, with the approval of Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for exercising their First Amendment rights.

They made up for that on Thursday…

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Breaking His Promise To Create 700K Jobs, Gov. Rick Scott Now Says ‘I Don’t Have To Create Any Jobs’

This is typically the Republican way. Lie, lie, and lie again.

Think Progress

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) campaigned on a promise to create jobs in Florida — his campaign mantras were even “Let’s get to work!” and “jobs, jobs, jobs.” However, recently he’sbacked off his earlier pledge to create 700,000 jobs in addition to the 1 million jobs Florida is expected to generate as part of the state’s natural growth, absurdly claiming “I don’t know who said that.”

Now the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Scott is scaling back his promises even further, claiming, “I could argue that I don’t have to create any jobs”:

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday added more nuance to his campaign promise to create jobs, questioning the validity of the state’s economic forecast and saying he just has to stop unemployment from rising.

“The bottom line is, I could argue that I don’t have to create any jobs,” Scott said on 540-AM in Maitland. “I just have to make sure we don’t lose jobs.

Florida has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. Yet Scott recently bragged about laying off 15,000 government workers, while deep education cuts will cost many teachers and school employees their jobs. Scott also rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that supporters say would have created 24,000 jobs.

Putting ideology over the welfare of Floridians, Scott has also indicated that he will reject the billions in federal aid that could flow to the state under President Obama’s jobs act. The state is slated to receive more than $7.5 billion for schools, roads and other projects under the American Jobs Act. The White House estimates that the funds under the plan would support more than 60,000 jobs in Florida, including those held by teachers, cops, and firefighters.

Gov. Scott Walker’s Office Targeted By Corruption Probe After FBI Raids Aide’s Home

There’s no surprise here.  It was just a matter of time, in my opinion…

Think Progress

New details are emerging about a potential corruption investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his staff after FBI agents this weekraided the home of Cindy Archer, who until last month was Walker’s deputy administration secretary.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that authorities last year launched a secret “John Doe investigation” into Walker’s time as Milwaukee County executive, looking into allegations that county staffers did political work while at work, and thus on the taxpayers’ dime. Archer, who held the county’s top staff job for the last three years of Walker’s county executive tenure before following him to the governor’s mansion, said she has done nothing wrong nor has Walker ever asked her to do anything improper.

Milwaukee County prosecutors launched the investigation around the time Walker’s then-constituent services coordinator, Darlene Wink, quit, “after admitting that she was frequently posting online comments on Journal Sentinel stories and blogs while on the county clock,” the Journal Sentinel reported:

Nearly all of her posts praised Walker or criticized his opponents.

Authorities later took her work computer and that of Tim Russell, a former Walker campaign staffer who was then working as county housing director, and executed a search warrant of Wink’s home.

Walker, who is out of the state, has yet to comment on the FBI raid and his spokesperson “said his office would have no comment on the raid or investigation.” Authorities have already requested emails and other information from Walker’s campaign, and he hired former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic after receiving the subpoena, the AP reported.

Archer has a new job in the state government, which she has yet to begin thanks to an extended sick leave. She is a political appointee, but she held a job that used to be a civil service position. Responding to the FBI raid, Democratic Assembly Leader Peter Barcaintroduced a bill yesterday to repeal a Walker-backed change that allowed the governor to fill civil service positions with political appointees, the AP reported.

There has already been one conviction relating to Walker’s campaign. A businessman supporter of Walker was sentenced to two years’ probation in July stemming from two felony convictions that of exceeding state campaign donation limits and laundering campaign donations to Walker and other state politicians.

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