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Koch Lobbying Office Draws Protest; Building Employees Gawk From Windows

Protesters clamor around the doorway of 10 E. Doty St.5:15 p.m. - Cars, SUVs and buses whoosh down Madison's King Street Thursday afternoon, honking, windows rolled down, thumbs up in solidarity as neon-vested police officers direct traffic.

"Stay strong!" shouted a man out the driver's-side window of a State Employee Vanpool van. A Madison Metro bus driver drives by, honking and cheering.

Employees in the office building, surely distracted by the protesters' drumming, peer down at the rally.Hundreds of protesters marched from the Capitol Square at 4 p.m. to 10 E. Doty St.'s glass-windowed office building, on the seventh floor of which The Capital Times revealed that Koch Industries opened a lobbying office in late October. Koch's PAC was one of the largest donors to Walker's political campaign, and multi-billionaire, David Koch, has bankrolled groups that ran expensive ad campaigns last year that helped him win the governorship.

CMD Submits Open Records Requests to Governor's Office

Before news broke of the prank call from a David Koch impersonator to Governor Walker's office, CMD had submitted the below open records request to the Wisconsin Department of Administration for all phone calls to-and-from the governor's office since January 1. CMD confirmed receipt of the request via telephone on February 18 and expects a reply promptly. We have also submitted open records requests directly to the governor's office for copies of all email and visitor log records.

Wisconsin Protests, Thursday, February 24, 2011

5:16 p.m. - Brendan Fischer reports that the rally has a bigger showing than past days with international representation.

Highsticked by Walker and I'm mad5:15 p.m. - KOCH LOBBYING OFFICE DRAWS PROTEST; BUILDING EMPLOYEES GAWK FROM WINDOWS

Erica Pelzek reports:

Cars, SUVs and buses whoosh down Madison's King Street Thursday afternoon, honking, windows rolled down, thumbs up in solidarity as neon-vested police officers direct traffic.

"Stay strong!" shouted a man out the driver's-side window of a State Employee Vanpool van. A Madison Metro bus driver drives by, honking and cheering.

Don't Buy Insurance Industry's "Objective Analysis"

Connecticut residents who believe their state should be the first in the nation to set up a public health insurance option to compete with private insurers should brace themselves for what will be a beautifully packaged, seemingly well-researched study from the insurance industry to convince them otherwise.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a big Washington-based lobbying group, last week told Connecticut lawmakers (pdf) that -- surprise, surprise -- they would be making a very big mistake if they approved funding to get the public option, called SustiNet, up and running. AHIP said it had hired "a well-known consulting firm" to produce a study that would support the conclusions the industry had already reached about SustiNet. AHIP even had the audacity to claim that said study would be an "objective analysis."

BREAKING NEWS on the Koch Brothers and Scott Walker

KochWalkerPhoneToday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, told a Buffalo, New York blogger that he was getting ready to issue pink slips to state workers in a strategy to force Democratic state senators back to work. In the short interview posted on YouTube and discussed at length by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today, there is a wealth of news. Click here to listen in and tell us what you think. The embarrassing revelations prompted Walker to cancel a 2:30 p.m. press conference today.

General Strike Looms if Walker Signs Union-Busting Bill

On-strikeWisconsin's South Central Federation of Labor is getting ready to call a general strike if the state's legislature passes Governor Scott Walker's bill to curtail collective bargaining rights. The Federation, which represents 97 unions and more than 45,000 workers in six counties, on Monday voted to endorse work shut-downs by both union and non-union workers around the country if the bill passes and the governor signs it. Federation delegates say they will strike even if unions elsewhere around the state or the country don't. The potential strike would affect government administrative offices, construction sites, schools and private businesses, but critical life-and-death services would be spared. University of Chicago law professor Richard A. Epstein, who has written extensively on labor and government issues, says there is a strong possibility of a major strike, since national leaders know that if they lose the battle over bargaining rights in Wisconsin, the same rights will fall in other states as well. Paul Secunda, a Marquette University professor who studies labor law, agreed that a general strike may be inevitable. "The ultimate power that employees have at the end of the day is to withhold their labor. This would be the ultimate trump card that unions could pull out, and it will be extremely powerful," Secunda said.

Wisconsin Protests, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

6:57 p.m. - WI SENATE DEMS JOIN PROGRESSIVES IN SOLIDARITY CALL WEDNESDAY

Erica Pelzek reports:

Voicing support for Wisconsin workers and imploring Gov. Scott Walker to compromise on the budget repair bill, Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona and Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee joined other progressives on a Progressive Change Campaign Committee radio segment Wednesday afternoon.

Adam Green of PCCC led the discussion, which included U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona.

Both Grijalva and Ellison rallied with the Wisconsin state Senators, with Ellison calling Walker's unwillingness to compromise and his proposed budget repair bill "extreme, radical and reckless—and he's going to fail!"

Koch Denies Interest in No-Bid Deals; Opens New Lobby Shop

PipelineMadison, Wisconsin -- The Capital Times reported on Tuesday that Koch Industries had quietly opened a lobby shop in Madison. This news comes amid concerns about the influence of the company and the billionaire brothers who lead it, and the bankrolling of multi-million dollar ad campaigns like the one that helped sweep controversial governor Scott Walker into office.

Walker's M.O. and Past Privatization Disaster Revealed

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did not campaign for office calling for the destruction of public unions, but a closer look at his past actions shows that he acted rashly toward union workers before, with disastrous and costly results.

In early 2010, when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, he fired 26 union security guards who worked at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. They were public employees and were represented by a union, but he fired them anyway, in favor of hiring private security guards. The county board opposed Walker's security-outsourcing move, but he pressed ahead with it anyway, claiming the action was needed due to a budget crisis, to help ameliorate a potential 2010 year-end deficit of around $7 million. After firing the guards, Walker hired private security contractor Wackenhut G4S to provide security services at the Courthouse, as well as two other venues in the county, under a $1.1 million contract.

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