DC-based special interest group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is busing-in out-of-state Tea Partiers and spending millions on advertisements, rallies, and phone banks in the weeks before recall elections for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and four state senate seats. But the group founded and funded by New York-based oil billionaire David Koch insists its activities have nothing to do with the Wisconsin campaigns or elections.
Firefighters Trash DNC for Lack of Aid in the Recall
For weeks Democrats in Wisconsin have been putting pressure on the national Democratic Party to do more for the upcoming June 5 recall election. The Republican Governors Association and the national Republican Party, headed by Wisconsinite Reince Priebus, are "all in" on the Walker campaign, bringing in a string of Republican governors to campaign on behalf of Walker and spending millions on fundraising and TV ads. In response to the pressure, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, sent an email to Democrats around the country on May 23 asking for help for Walker's challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. But with less than two weeks before the election, Democrats and labor leaders are steamed. Today, the fight broke into the open when International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, told The Hill: "I'm very disappointed that the DNC has not seen fit to make a dollar investment," Schaitberger said. "When you're facing $25 million or more in super-PAC funds, you need money. The campaign needed funds to get up on the air to fight back. ... I think that would have been a good investment going into November."
Two Wisconsin newspapers published front-page stories this week about the state's recall elections, suggesting that both Democrats and Republicans are evenly matched financially, and have even received the same level of support from out-of-state donors. But what is the real story?
RGA Roadshow Brings Four Governors to Wisconsin, Barrett Lacking in Surrogates
Governor Scott Walker will be joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at two campaign events in Wisconsin today to aid Walker as he faces Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a June 5 recall election. Jindal was last in the news here for poaching the Thomas Products manufacturing plant out of Sheboygan in 2009, costing the state 366 union jobs. Walker will also be joined by South Carolina's Republican Governor Nikki Haley on the campaign trail next week. Last night on Fox News, Haley refered to herself repeatedly as a "union buster." Earlier this week, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty joined Walker in La Crosse. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first Republican Governor to step up to the plate to assist Walker with the recall. The RGA has spent at least $4.8 million in the state, mostly on TV ads.
Not Dead Yet: New Poll Shows Barrett and Walker in Dead Heat
A new poll sponsored by "We Are Wisconsin" shows a closer race between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Governor Scott Walker than other recent polls. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research did a survey on behalf of the labor PAC that sampled 472 recall voters from May 19 to 21. In that poll, Walker leads Barrett 50 to 47, but the results remain within the poll's four-point margin of error. Last week's Marquette University Law School poll showed Scott Walker ahead of Tom Barrett, 50 to 44 percent. Recent analysis of the Marquette poll, however, has shown that it "oversampled" conservatives, who were more likely to vote for Walker. John Nichols in the Capital Times describes how this oversampling explains Walker's gain in its entirety:
Members of Congress Raise Questions about Walker's 2011 Testimony
Three Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee wrote to Chairman Darrell Issa requesting that he obtain clarification from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker of his testimony before the Committee on April 14, 2011, in light of a new videotape that surfaced recently that appears to contradict his statements.
Walker Releases New Jobs Numbers and Cuts New Ad
On May 16, 2012, Governor Scott Walker released new jobs numbers; ones that indicate Wisconsin gained jobs in the last year rather than suffering the worst jobs loses in the nation as had been previously reported. The new numbers are based on a different metric, not the metric used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The governor's office has traditionally relied on BLS to measure job performance, but went data shopping when the BLS numbers started ranking Wisconsin's job performance the worst in the nation. The Walker administration released the new numbers the day before the BLS was anticipated to release its April numbers, and indeed the BLS report once again put Wisconsin dead last in the nation a loss of 21,400 between April of 2011 and April of 2012. Wisconsin lost 6,000 jobs in April alone.
Sentencing for Key Former Walker Aide In John Doe Criminal Probe Delayed Until July
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that sentencing of Darlene Wink, a former county aide to Governor Scott Walker, has been delayed until July 17 so Wink can continue to help prosecutors. Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf asked for a long delay, noting, "the prosecutions are not yet closed." Wink was caught Facebooking comments, while at work, about Walker and his opponents during his 2010 race for governor. She was one of two Walker staffers later charged with spending a great deal of time fundraising and working on the gubernatorial campaign while on the public payroll as part of a wide ranging John Doe investigation being run out of the Milwaukee District Attorney's office. The probe has resulted in 15 felony indictments against a number of former Walker staff and associates, prompting Walker to hire two sets of criminal defense attorneys and to set up a criminal defense fund. Learn more about the John Doe investigation, and charges against Walker's former staff here.
Politifact on Walker: "No Movement So Far on Promise to Add 10,000 Businesses"
During Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 2010 campaign, he made two related promises. One was to bring 250,000 new jobs to Wisconsin by the end of his term, and the other was to create 10,000 new businesses in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took a look at the number. Politifact found that "the numbers have gone backwards." One year into Walker's term there were 9,485 fewer businesses. As of April the numbers had improved slightly, but Wisconsin was still down 4,338 businesses from when Walker took office. The paper goes on to say that on the campaign trail Walker has been using numbers that only represent newly registered businesses, not taking into account businesses that have failed or ceased to operate. "In sum, Walker has made no movement so far on his promise to add 10,000 businesses."
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.