American Bridge today is kicking off a new Tumblr and officially welcoming Scott Walker to the Wisconsin governor’s race with a series of GIFs asking – Why is Scott Walker So Happy? Could it be because his promise to create 250K jobs in his first term has fallen more than flat? Perhaps he’s proud of his record of making the biggest cuts to education in Wisconsin’s history. Or maybe Walker’s just giddy from having rolled back provisions of Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which he derided as a “gravy train” for trial lawyers.
Check out AmericanBridge.Tumblr.com for the full litany of possible reasons why Walker could be so happy as he announces his re-election campaign today.
Politifact: “Clock Is Starting To Run Out On Gov. Scott Walker’s Promise To Create 250,000 Private-Sector Jobs Before The End Of His Four-Year Term” With 148,428 Jobs To Create By End Of 2014. According to PolitiFact, “The clock is starting to run out on Gov. Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs before the end of his four-year term. That’s one conclusion that can be drawn from the state Department of Workforce Development’s monthly jobs report issued March 27, 2014. The report contained two small setbacks for Walker. The jobs count for January was revised from a preliminary estimate of no net gain to a loss of 200 jobs. And the preliminary estimate for February was that the state lost 1,600 jobs. The monthly jobs reports are based on surveys of only 3 percent of all state employers. They are preliminary estimates and subject to revision over time. The latest report came two weeks after the state released a report revising monthly jobs estimates for 2013. That report shaved 4,200 jobs off the total for that year. Here’s the bottom line: In a little more than three years with Walker as governor, the state has created an estimated 101,572 private sector jobs. That leaves 148,428 jobs — or an average of 14,842 a month for the rest of the year — for Walker to achieve his promise.” [PolitiFact, 4/1/14]
Walker Received Payment For His Book Exceeding $340,000 But Only Sold 16,156 Copies. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “BuzzFeed reported this past week that Walker was paid an advance exceeding $340,000 to write ‘Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge,’ his account of the well-publicized fight over Act 10, which rolled back collective bargaining for most government workers. His advance could have been much higher. The online report said Walker has sold 16,156 hardcover copies of the book since its release in November, according to BookScan. When pressed, Walker — who is not a wealthy man — has refused to say how much he was paid upfront by Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for the book. Last summer, the first-term Republican governor told No Quarter that he would provide that information on the state’s ‘great ethics form’ in 2014.” [Milwaukee State Journal, 3/22/14]
PolitiFact: True That “Walker Had Made The Biggest Cuts To Education In Wisconsin’s History”. According to PolitiFact, “State Democratic Party claim: The party sought to undercut Walker’s announcement on the surplus and tax cuts. It pointed out in a news release during his speech that Walker’s first budget cut nearly one billion dollars from public schools and our technical college system that provides critical job training programs. ‘That number is on target, we said in 2012 when rating True former gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk’s statement that Walker had made the biggest cuts to education in our state’s history.’” [PolitiFact, 1/22/14]
Walker Rolled Back Provisions Of Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act; Law Allowed Individuals To Plead Their Cases In The State Circuit Court Rather Than In Federal Court. According to the Huffington Post, “A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill. The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court. In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers. SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.” [Huffington Post, 4/16/12]
VOTERS V. LOBBYISTS
Shot: Walker Signed A Bill Eliminating Weekend And Night Voting And Eliminated State Funds for Early Voting. According to the Associated Press, Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed into law a bill that limits in-person absentee voting to no later than 7 p.m. during the week and no weekend hours. Walker vetoed a portion of the bill Thursday that limited the hours of early voting to no more than 45 in each of the two weeks prior to an election. He kept the prohibition on weekend voting. […] Walker also vetoed a portion of the bill that would have reimbursed local governments for costs associated with early voting.” [Associated Press, 3/27/14]
Chaser: Walker Signed A Bill Allowing Lobbyists To Make Campaign Donations Seven Weeks Earlier Than Under Previous Law. According to the Associated Press, “Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed into law a bill that lets lobbyists to start making campaign donations to candidates for office seven weeks earlier than previously allowed. The bill was among 29 that Walker signed privately on Thursday morning in Milwaukee. Walker’s legislative liaison sent lawmakers an email notifying them that the governor was signing the bills into law. The new law allows lobbyists to start making personal donations the day candidates can circulate petitions for office, which is April 15. Under previous law they couldn’t make any donations until June 1.” [Associated Press, 3/27/14]
PolitiFact: Walker’s Claim That “Wisconsin Was Not Walking Away From A Dime” By Rejecting Obamacare Expansion Was False As Wisconsin Lost $119 Million. According to PolitiFact, “Responding to criticism that state taxpayers are taking a financial hit because Walker chose not to expand Medicaid through Obamacare, Rhoades claimed “we’re not walking away from a dime” in federal funds. There’s an element of truth in her claim, in that under Walker’s alternative plan, some level of federal funds will flow to Wisconsin insurers and health care providers based on the number of people who choose to buy health insurance through Obamacare exchanges. But the criticism focused on the impact on state government by not taking the Obamacare offer — $119 million just in the next two years, a figure Rhoades doesn’t dispute. Because of that, we rate her claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 6/15/13]
JOHN DOE CONVICTIONS
Six Walker Associates Were Charged In The John Doe Probe; All Cut Plea Deals. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Just like that, the lengthy John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s aides and associates is over. […]The quality of the investigation, Nettesheim said, was indicated by the fact that none of the six individuals charged as a result of the probe took their cases to trial, instead they cut plea deals with prosecutors.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/2/13]
- Tim Russell, Kevin Kavanaugh And Kelly Rindfleisch, Were Sentenced To Jail Time. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Russell, a former deputy chief of staff to Walker, pleaded guilty Nov. 29 to stealing more than $21,000 from Operation Freedom, an annual event held by the county at the zoo to honor veterans and their families. He was sentenced to two years in prison in January. Kevin Kavanaugh was convicted of stealing more than $50,000 from Operation Freedom and other veterans funds and sentenced in December to two years in prison. Walker once named Kavanaugh to the county Veterans Service Commission. […]Kelly Rindfleisch, who worked for Walker in the county executive’s office in 2010, was sentenced Nov. 19 to six months in jail for campaign fundraising at the courthouse using a secret email system installed there.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/2/13]