On prank call, Wis. governor discusses strategy - Yahoo! News
MADISON, Wis. – On a prank call that quickly spread across the Internet, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was duped into discussing his strategy to cripple public employee unions, promising never to give in and joking that he would use a baseball bat in his office to go after political opponents.
Walker believed the caller was a conservative billionaire named David Koch, but it was actually the editor of a liberal online newspaper. The two talked for at least 20 minutes — a conversation in which the governor described several potential ways to pressure Democrats to return to the Statehouse and revealed that his supporters had considered secretly planting people in pro-union protest crowds to stir up trouble.
On the call, the governor said he was ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Democrats to return to the Capitol a week after they fled to block the legislation. He said he supported a move to require them to come to the Capitol to pick up their paychecks rather than have the money deposited directly.
He also floated an idea to lure Democratic senators back to the Capitol for negotiations and then have the Senate quickly pass the bill while they are in talks.
Walker said aides were reviewing whether the GOP could hold a vote if Democrats were not physically in the Senate chamber but elsewhere in the building. At the news conference, he insisted that idea was not a trick but an effort to get Democrats back to work.
Democrats seized on Walker's recorded comments as evidence that the governor plans to go beyond budget cuts to crushing unions.
The remarks showed Walker's private relationship with David Koch. He and his brother, Charles, own Koch Industries Inc., which is the largest privately-owned company in America and has significant operations in Wisconsin.
Its political action committee gave $43,000 to Walker's campaign, and David Koch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association, which funded ads attacking Walker's opponent in last year's election.
The Kochs also give millions to support Americans For Prosperity, a conservative business group that launched a $320,000 television ad campaign in favor of Walker's legislation Wednesday. When the caller asked how he could help, Walker suggested outside groups could try to influence people to call their lawmakers and spread the message that his proposal is necessary.
On the recording, after Walker said he would be willing to meet with Democratic leaders, the caller said he should bring a baseball bat to negotiations.