Tag Archives: collective bargaining

Walker acknowledges ‘stupid’ behavior

In an interview with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker uncharacteristically expressed remorse over major missteps he’s made since taking office last January.

“If I could do this all over again, I’d spend more time in January and February making a case,” Walker said in the interview. “I just kind of came in and said, ‘OK, here’s the problem, here’s the solution, I’ll just go fix it.’ And I didn’t spend a lot of time building up a communications effort to explain … the reasons why.”

Walker was referring specifically to his so-called “Budget Repair Bill,” which eliminated nearly all collective bargaining rights for public employees. Walker now faces a likely recall over that move combined with his slashing of public education and healthcare funding and his voter photo ID bill, which makes it more difficult for traditionally Democratic constituencies to vote.

The recall election will probably be held in June, according to a consensus of published reports.

The most surprising part of the conversation with interviewer Bill Lueders was Walker’s expression of remorse over a phone call he took from a prankster pretending to be corporate-right billionaire David Koch. Koch and his various political front groups are among Walker’s most generous donors. Koch Industries is seeking to do a lot of business with the state.

The conversation, which was posted on the Internet and went viral, includes Walker bragging about his refusal to negotiate with Democrats and his consideration of a plan to plant unruly demonstrators among the tens of thousands protesting him at the Capitol.

In the conversation, Walker called his actions “stupid.”

“(The call) diverted attention from a debate that needed to be focused on the facts and instead got off into this hysteria and everything. … I was duped … that I would go off and talk about stuff like that, yeah it was stupid.”

The governor called the experience “a pretty good reality check for me.” He said it showed the importance of keeping the focus on his agenda and “not about what people think about me personally.”

Official resigns over e-mail telling Walker to fake attack on himself

An Indiana prosecutor said one of his deputies resigned March 24 after admitting he sent an e-mail to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suggesting the Republican fake an attack on himself to discredit the public employee unions protesting his plan to strip them of nearly all collective bargaining rights.

Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said Carlos Lam resigned in a phone call about 5 a.m. after acknowledging that he sent the Feb. 19 e-mail to Walker suggesting “the situation in WI presents a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation.”

“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the public unions,” Lam wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Cooper said Lam initially denied sending the e-mail and said someone had hacked into his account. But Lam later acknowledged he had written the message, and resigned hours before the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported the contents publicly March 24.

“He wanted to come clean, I guess, and said he is the one who sent that e-mail,” Cooper told the Daily Journal newspaper in Franklin, south of Indianapolis.

A message left by the AP at a telephone listing for Lam was not immediately returned.

Lam’s e-mail was sent amid daily protests at the Wisconsin Capitol against Walker’s plan to take away public employees’ rights to collectively bargain for anything except wages no higher than inflation.

“We cannot have the public unions hold the taxpayer hostage with their outrageous demands,” said the e-mail, which urged Walker to “stay strong.”

Lam is the second Indiana prosecutor to lose his job over volatile comments about the Wisconsin protests. Jeffrey Cox, a deputy attorney general, was fired last month after tweeting that police should use live ammunition against labor protesters.