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Koch Brothers "Prank" No Laughing Matter

WalkerphoneEmbattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came under fire today after news broke about statements he made in a 20-minute phone call from a Buffalo-area alternative news reporter, Ian Murphy of the Daily Beast, posing as David Koch, a billionaire whose corporate PAC directly supported Walker and who has given millions to groups that have run ads to aid Walker's rise to the state's highest office. (Listen to the call here.)

As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, the Koch PAC not only spent $43,000 directly on Walker's race, but Koch personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association which spent $5 million in the state. Besides the Governor, the Koch brothers have other "vested interests" in the state.

Prank Koch Call Prompts More Legal Questions

Madison -- The heat ratcheted up on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as more questions were raised about the 20-minute phone call from a Buffalo-area alternative news reporter posing as David Koch, a billionaire whose corporate PAC directly supported Walker and who has given millions to groups that have run ads to aid Walker's rise to the state's highest office. (Find a transcript of the call here).

The section of the tape that has come under the most scrutiny involved Walker's comments that he considered planting "troublemakers" into the crowd. People on the ground here in Madison were quite aware that the first five days of protests were packed with children. The Madison school district and many surrounding districts were closed. Thousands of elementary school children and their parents marched at the capitol in support of local teachers. On the first day and second days, thousands of high school students walked out on their classes and headed to the capitol. The atmosphere was festive and fun, popcorn stands on the corner and thousands of homemade signs.

Wisconsin Protests, Saturday, February 26, 2011

SATURDAY NIGHT ENERGY AT CAMP CAPITOL

"Saturday night energy" on the last night the State Capitol will officially be open to the public.11:00 p.m. - Lynn Welch reporting: On the last night the State Capitol will officially be open to the public, those inside describe a festive atmosphere as a larger crowd has gathered. A circle of drummers and dancers engaged a larger group of overnighters with a real "Saturday night energy," described Oma Vic McMurray, a Madison resident staying her second night in the building.

Wisconsin Protests, Friday, February 25, 2011

50 RALLIES IN 50 STATES

Wisconsin state capitol rotunda packed with protestorsVisit MoveOn.org to find information about a rally in your state.

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services.

On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, we are organizing rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. We demand an end to the attacks on worker's rights and public services across the country. We demand investment, to create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. And we demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share.

We are all Wisconsin.

We are all Americans.

This Saturday, we will stand together to Save the American Dream. Be sure to wear Wisconsin Badger colors—red and white—to show your solidarity. Sign up today to join in!

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.

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