With the June 5th recall elections less than a month away these are some of the top news stories out of the State of Wisconsin related to the recall.
A Walker Top Donor Has a Problem Paying Taxes
Last week, a video surfaced of Governor Scott Walker speaking with a major donor in January 2011, just weeks before Walker introduced his "budget repair bill" stripping collective bargaining rights from most public workers. Publicly Walker justified the measure by saying the state was "broke" and there was no other choice. The video shows Walker telling Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks a different story. She asks him how to create a "red state," and Walker explains his plan to "divide and conquer" unions. Hendricks is one of Walker's biggest contributors, writing him a single check for $500,000. She is also the owner of ABC Supply Company. This weekend, the tax experts at The Institute for Wisconsin's Future took a closer look at the company Hendricks owns. According to the IWF, "Hendricks, whom Forbes magazine says is worth $2.8 billion, heads Beloit-based ABC Supply Company, which the magazine calls 'the nation's largest roofing, window and siding wholesale distributor' with annual sales approaching $5 billion. ABC Supply may be a huge money-maker for Hendricks, but the Wisconsin corporate income tax returns she files claim the company makes not a penny in taxable profit." Tax data from more recent years was not available.
Scott Fitzgerald Says Opponent Controlled by Husband and Union Bosses
In an article published in the Wisconsin State Journal on Mother's Day, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald suggested that his recall challenger, Lori Compas, is not actually the driving force behind her own campaign. "For the record, Fitzgerald said he doesn't buy Compas' Pollyanna image. He knows some people are painting the race as a David-vs.-Goliath contest. But Fitzgerald said he thinks her husband is one of the main forces behind her campaign, as well as unions and protest groups." Compas, who spent countless hours in the snow personally collecting thousands of signatures to recall Fitzgerald when the Democrats said it could not be done, responded immediately with a short video poking fun at Fitzgerald's implication that Compas' husband is really calling the shots. She says at the end of the video that while they chose to have fun with their response, his statements were "bizarre and a little bit offensive."
Walker Recommits to 250,000 Jobs Promise at Wisconsin GOP Convention
This weekend the Wisconsin Republican Party had their statewide convention in Ashwaubenon. During his speech to the crowd of GOP members and supporters, Governor Scott Walker renewed the promise that he made during his 2010 campaign for governor, to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin by 2015. The promise left many scratching their heads. Walker is no where near his stated goal and in fact has one of the worst jobs records in the nation. Recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Wisconsin was the only state in the nation to have statistically significant job losses between March of 2011 and March of 2012. According to the BLS numbers, under Walker Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs in that time period.
Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity Phone Banking for Walker
While Governor Walker likes to complain that "out-of-state" union bosses are behind his recall, Walker is getting some out of state help himself. For months, the Koch-founded-and-funded Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity has spent almost $3 million running "It's Working!" ads with the right-wing MacIver Institute asserting that Governor Walker's austerity budget and attack on collective bargaining have been good for the state -- despite Wisconsin having one of the worst jobs records in the country. Now, state AFP chapters around the country are organizing "Freedom Phone" phonebanks to make phone calls into Wisconsin "supporting the Wisconsin reforms," and the AFP chapter in Illinois is busing out-of-state people into Wisconsin to canvass neighborhoods.
Jeff Fitzgerald Gets Dropkicked
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald told the state GOP convention on Saturday that "June 5 is the most important day in political history!" Fitzgerald bounded onto the stage at the convention to the tune of the Dropkick Murphys' cover of the Woody Guthrie song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston." The Irish-American punk band, which has many pro-union songs, was not happy about Fitzgerald's use of their music. The band released a statement saying: "The stupidity and irony of this is laughable. A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate -- and crony of anti-union Gov. Scott Walker -- using a Dropkick Murphys' song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!... We stand beside our union and labor brothers and sisters and their families in Wisconsin and all over the U.S.!"
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