Wisconsin Gov. Scott Hosni Mubarak Walker May Have Committed Impeachable Offenses
When Gov. Scott Walker discussed strategies to lay off state employees for political purposes, to coordinate supposedly “independent” political expenditures to aid legislators who support his budget repair bill, and to place agent provocateurs on the streets of Madison in order to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, he engaged in what a former attorney general of Wisconsin says could turn out to be serious ethics, election law and labor violations.Walker has powerful friends with lots of money so he probably will not be impeached, but beginning the impeachment process would send a signal that Walker is a public official, paid by tax payers, to protect the public interests and keep his behavior within the rule of law.
Much of the attention to the “prank” call that the governor took from a blogger who identified himself as billionaire David Koch has focused on the bizarre, at times comic, character of the discussion between a blogger posing as a powerful political player on the right and a governor whose budget repair bill has sparked mass demonstrations in Wisconsin communities and a national outcry. But the state’s former chief law-enforcement officer described the governor’s statements as “deeply troubling” and suggested that they would require inquiry and investigation by watchdog agencies.
“There clearly are potential ethics violations, and there are potential election law violations and there are a lot of what look to me like labor law violations,” said Peg Lautenschlager, a Democrat who served as Wisconsin’s attorney general after serving for many years as a U.S. attorney. “I think that the ethics violations are something the (state) Government Accountability Board should look into because they are considerable. He is on tape talking with someone who he thinks is the funder of an independent political action committee to purchase advertising to benefit Republican legislators who are nervous about taking votes on legislation he sees as critical to his political success.”
Lautenschlager, a former legislator who has known Walker for many years and who has worked with many of the unions involved in the current dispute, says: “One of the things I find most problematic in all of this is the governor’s casual talk about using outside troublemakers to stir up trouble on the streets, and the fact that he only dismissed the idea because it might cause a political problem for him.”
On the tape, Walker is asked about “planting some troublemakers” to incite the crowds at what have been peaceful protests.
“(We) thought about that,” replied the governor, who added: “My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.”
“I think there’s a serious issue there,” Lautenschlager explained. “That’s a public safety issue. And I think that is really troublesome: a governor with an obligation to maintain public safety says he’s going to plant people to make trouble. That screams out to me. For a governor even to consider a strategy that could unnecessarily threaten the safety of peaceful demonstrators — which the governor acknowledged he did — is something that simply amazes me.”
Lautenschlager reviewed the tape of the phone call and the transcript at the request of The Capital Times. She noted a pattern of instances where the governor seemed to put his personal political agenda ahead of his duties as the state’s chief executive.
Lautenschlager noted, in particular, the governor’s reference to displaying a photo of former President Ronald Reagan at the dinner where he explained plans for his budget repair bill — which seeks to strip state, county and municipal employees of their collective bargaining rights, restructure state government in a manner that dramatically extends the power of the governor, undermine the BadgerCare and SeniorCare programs, and sell off publicly owned power plants to private firms like Koch Industries.
Hosni Mubarak Walker probably got his idea to plant trouble makers in the crowds of protesters from other tea nut conservatives, Tea Party Taliban plan to impersonate union protesters: “Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes & pictures will linger as defacto truth.”
How to Screw Over a Democratic Republic. Wisconsin Gov. Walker Throws Gasoline on the Fire
The governor could end this crisis if he's willing to work with the unions and both political parties. As we all know, this crisis is not about the money and never was. To the extent that Wisconsin has a budget deficit, it is a problem of the governor's own making, thanks to tax breaks he just gave to corporations. The workers have already agreed to Gov. Walker's requests for concessions on pension and health care. But the governor won't budge - he continues to put his ideological agenda ahead of the people of Wisconsin. That's just plain wrong and makes little sense as a practical matter.
The governor is needlessly alienating Wisconsin's workers. I understand why the governor attacked his own work force of public-service employees in his first six weeks in office. Taking away collective-bargaining rights from all workers is an important agenda item for the big corporations and the extremists in his own political party. But this plan has backfired. The middle-class families of his state are turning against the governor.