UPDATED President Walker Primer: 4 things you should know about Scott Walker before it’s too late

July 12, 2015

Since this story was first published in February, Scott Walker has continued the patterns of deceit, corruption, and vindictiveness described in the original article. Most noticeable is his failed effort to enact what would have amounted to a “Wisconsin State Secrets Act,” and his subsequent clumsy attempts to deny responsibility. 

Open Records Law has been the bane of Walker’s governorship, and there is little doubt that Walker views the Law as an intolerable obstacle in his unintimidated march to the White House. Even before the State Secrets Act was proposed as a formal law, Walker was acting as if it was already in effect.

Among the unsavory secrets that have emerged from recent applications of Open Records Law to Walker is the revelation that the “Wisconsin Economic Development Agency” (WEDC), the department Walker created to replace the Department of Commerce and the main agency tasked with creating jobs, has become little more than a tool for Walker to give public money to his financial backers in the form of “loans” awarded with little or no review or expectation of repayment to sketchy businesses owned by these backers.

With Walker set to officially announce his candidacy for president tomorrow (July 13th), perhaps his free ride with the press will end, with reporters and pundits finally realizing that Walker’s behavior in Wisconsin is relevant to his potential behavior as president. For that reason, it is all the more important that the facts about Scott Walker become as widely known as possible.

In addition to this article, a compendium of those facts may be found here: “THE WALKER FILES” and here: “SCOTT WALKER FACTS LITTLE KNOWN OUTSIDE OF WISCONSIN.”


February 15, 2015 by WCMC


Photo: Michael Matheson

So … Scott Walker is all but officially running for president, and the country is getting a look at a man whom we residents of Wisconsin have been living with since before he became governor. While the national press has focused on the policies and conservative ideology that Walker has imposed on our state, these don’t define the man or explain the mayhem he has caused here.

The massive protests against Walker in 2011 began with “Act 10,” which stripped public employee unions of almost all of their rights and power. Walker loves to leave the story there and depicts ongoing opposition to him as a fight between him and the unions. It’s a narrative that sells well to his donors and to a national press eager for narrative simplicity.

But Act 10 was only a triggering event, not the sole or even primary motivation of Walker’s opponents. While much of the opposition to Walker centers around his policies, there is more to it than that. It is the way he implements these policies, the way he deals with opposition, and the way he rewards his allies that make Walker not just divisive, but frightening. Even conservatives who share Walker’s ideology should distrust him, and dread the prospect of him becoming president.

Why? Here is a brief primer on Scott Walker, drawn from what we have learned about him first-hand here in Wisconsin. These are things that the rest of the country should know in order to avoid learning the same lessons the hard way—on a national and international platform of the presidency.

scott-walker-circa-19861. Scott Walker is a liar.

“So what?” you ask, “Aren’t all politicians liars?” Probably, but Walker lies about so much, even inconsequential things, that it seems compulsive.

His recent lies explaining how “searching for truth” and other aspects of the “Wisconsin Idea” came to be stricken from his rewrite of the University of Wisconsin mission statement were astounding enough to draw rebuke from the New York Times editorial board, but such lies compose a large part of almost all of Walker’s public statements.

Like most politicians, Walker lies when it is politically convenient to do so; unlike most politicians, Walker lies when the truth is already firmly established, such as when he claims that Wisconsin has a budget surplus (it doesn’t), or that he never considered planting agents provocateurs among the demonstrators (he did). For Walker, deceit is not only a tool; it is an end in itself, his default mode. Walker even lies about things that have no obvious political angle, like the date of the births of his sons and how he got his bald spot.

Walker’s lies often take the form of self-aggrandizing fantasy, a large helping of which he served up in his ironically titled [for someone who almost never appears in public] ghost-written political autobiography, Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge. In it, for example, Walker recounts how during the peak of the 2011 protests, a mob surrounded his car and tried to tip it over. This incident never happened, at least not to Walker, though Walker’s story bears a remarkable similarity to a 1958 attack on Richard Nixon’s car in Venezuela.

Sen. Tom Tiffany

Sen. Tom Tiffany, a driving force behind Walker’s efforts to remove local control over mining and intimidate mine opponents.

2. Scott Walker is astoundingly corrupt, even by current political standards.

He is so corrupt the corruption itself gives him cover, because an objective description of it sounds like a hyperbolic screed, leading to an “Oh, come on, he can’t be as bad as all that” from people who don’t know his history.

He IS that bad. Here’s his tea party brag that shows he’s more extreme than conservative. During the past few years, the fact that he has not yet actually been indicted for a crime is the strongest defense of his character that his supporters have been able to mount.

Walker’s reputation for political cunning, reflected in the oft-repeated warnings to not underestimate him, derives from his lack of moral restraint and his willingness to do anything to get what he wants, rather than from any tactical brilliance or deep understanding of people. It’s “the ends justify the means” on steroids. This, combined with the ineptitude of the Wisconsin Democrats and the Wisconsin press, answers an obvious question about Walker: How could someone of such mediocre abilities be so successful?

Walker’s known political career began in 1988, when he ran for president of the Associated Students of Marquette University. He didn’t win, but he was found guilty of violating campaign rules. After trying to lie his way out of it, he was forced to admit the truth of the charges. The Marquette Tribune ran an editorial before the election declaring that Walker was “unfit for presidency.” Like much of Walker’s past, the details of why he left Marquette before graduating are secrets.

It may seem petty to bring up an incident from so long ago, but Walker has continued to show the pattern he revealed at Marquette in every job he has held since about which there is any public information. His lies about the “Wisconsin Idea” and getting caught in them prove he has not changed. In fact, past and ongoing criminal investigations into Walker’s administrations, both as Milwaukee County executive and as governor, have resulted in multiple felony convictions of close Walker associates, and charges ranging from misuse of county resources for political purposes, to embezzling funds raised to help wives and children of veterans, to child enticement.

btAmong the felons is Tim Russell, Walker’s political mentor from shortly after he left Marquette, and one of the very few people who can be identified as a personal friend of Walker. Walker himself so far has escaped indictment, but public records of the investigation, some accidentally released, leave little doubt that Walker knew about and used (and perhaps continues to use) an illegal in-house email system to illegally coordinate his public offices with his political campaigns, and to evade open records laws. The latest criminal probe has identified Walker as part of a “criminal scheme” to evade campaign finance laws by arranging to have donations to his recall election laundered through Koch-funded super PACs.

But lies and corruption are not the end of the story. They merely set the stage for what is truly frightening about a possible Walker presidency.

3. Walker does not tolerate opposition.

Peaceful protester being arrested at Capitol. Photo: Erin Proctor

Peaceful protester being arrested at Capitol. Photo: Erin Proctor

This applies not only to opposition from other politicians (although it certainly applies to them, too—see the fate of Mike Ellis) but to everyone. Suppression of dissent through intimidation is one of the chief features of the Walker governorship, and a main source of the fear and discord Walker has inflicted on his state.

Walker uses the power of his office to punish opponents. His administration ordered unconstitutional mass arrests of peaceful political dissidents in the Wisconsin State Capitol. In the state legislature, which Walker controls, laws have been introduced to eliminate the ability of local governments to block industrial projects of Walker’s donors, to eliminate independent government oversight panels, to eliminate the office of Secretary of State (currently held by Douglas La Follette, a staunch opponent), to remove the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, who has sided against Walker in several cases.

But much of the dirty work of intimidation is carried out by a network of right-wing groups that operate with a wink and nod from the administration, allied with unscrupulous legislators, Koch-funded lobbyists, and new right-wing media outlets set up by out-of-state billionaires. The most obvious of these intimidation efforts is a digitized, searchable online database of the one million people who signed a petition demanding Walker’s recall. The barely unstated purpose of this list is to keep petition signers from being hired by pro-Walker businesses. Walker himself withdrew the student representative nominee for the Board of Regents because his name appeared on the list.

People who do not limit their dissent to petition signing can expect harsher treatment. Opponents of Walker’s mine deregulation legislation, crafted specifically to allow Florida billionaire Chris Cline to open an iron mine in northern Wisconsin (and Walker’s one and only “jobs initiative”) have been attacked openly in right-wing outlets like the Bradley-funded “Media Trackers,” and behind the scenes by state legislators. Mine opponents have had their jobs threatened, sometimes with success. Many have received death threats.

Bulletproof Security, operating illegally in Wisconsin. Photo: Rob Ganson

Bulletproof Security, operating illegally in Wisconsin. Photo: Rob Ganson

4. Under Walker, Wisconsin literally has become a lawless state, a playground for the Walker regime and its supporters, and a dangerous place for the rest of us. 

State agencies, most notably the Departments of Justice, Administration, and Natural Resources are fully under the control of Walker and his minions. Scientists and professionals have been replaced by political cronies who know nothing about the jobs they are supposed to do.

Ultimately, corruption and intimidation are unchecked in Wisconsin for two reasons: the State Supreme Court and the Wisconsin press. The State Supreme Court is controlled by four ethically challenged Walker allies who barely even pretend to be honest, and who Walker and his friends can count on to make problems go away.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin press has mostly been asleep. A few articles describe each new revelation of Walker’s deceit or corruption, with follow-up articles giving Walker’s explanation, and there the matter is left. Walker is almost never asked difficult questions or pressed to explain his often incoherent answers. Thus Walker’s friends can openly violate the law with little fear of either prosecution or sustained scrutiny. When Chris Cline, in clear violation of state law, sent heavily armed and unlicensed mercenaries to his proposed mining site in the Penokee Mountains, a publicity stunt designed to raise the specter of “eco-terrorism,” no charges were ever filed and press coverage of the story quickly vanished.

Duct taped ballot bags from the Village of Menomonee Falls are presented to the election judge.

Duct taped ballot bags from the Village of Menomonee Falls are presented to the election judge.

The mysterious late “discovery” of 14,000 votes in Waukesha County, which swung a State Supreme Court election to Walker ally David Prosser and thereby maintained Walker’s control over the court, has never been adequately investigated, despite hundreds of suspicious irregularities and serious evidence of ballot tampering discovered during the state-mandated recount. The Government Accountability Board, the state agency that should have investigated this evidence, did not even look at it before certifying the election results.

Discrepancies like these compromised ballot bags from the 2011 Supreme Court recount were never fully investigated.

Discrepancies like these compromised ballot bags from the 2011 Supreme Court recount were never fully investigated.

The press accepted the results without question and never reported on the evidence of fraud. Illegal campaign donations, physical attacks on Walker opponents circulating recall petitions, online threats by pro-Walker groups such as “Knot my Wisconsin” and “Operation Burn Notice” have all gone unpunished and largely unreported.

Scott Walker has damaged the legal and political system of Wisconsin so badly that it may never recover. His house of cards is collapsing and even the state GOP knows it. It is only because Wisconsin is just a state within a larger country, and not an independent country on its own, that it has not descended into totalitarian dictatorship. Scott Walker does not scorn moral constraints on his actions. Rather, he seems to not comprehend such constraints. Walker’s only limit is the limit of his power, and it is this limit that Walker wants to eliminate by becoming president.

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138 Comments on “UPDATED President Walker Primer: 4 things you should know about Scott Walker before it’s too late”

  1. eztempo (@eztempo) February 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    Hey, WCMCoop, thanks for publishing this! I hope you’re allowing re-prints in as many forums across the country (and Internet) as possible. America needs to get to know this guy BEFORE he becomes a primary election phenomenon.

  2. Rose Ventura February 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Thank you putting this together. It’s bad enough to happen at the state level, but he wants to take his operation nation wide. I’m in Ohio and I did not know most of what you wrote.

    • Virginia Greenup Seaholm March 24, 2015 at 3:40 am #

      Rose, that’s why you need to ‘read between the lines’. ‘do your own researc’h and meet Scott. He has done more for WI. than any gov. since Tommy Thompson.
      I got on a plane in Seattle yrs. ago as the bussed-in complainers were tearing apart the Madison capitol. My seat mate asked me what ‘I thought of Scott Walker’. I thought I am going to hear how the “poor state is suffering under Scott’. Was I surprised when he told me his daughter was a teacher in McFarland, Wi. -“finally the school was back on track financially since Scott became gov.” and they had a few million in reserve. Was I shocked to hear that from, obviously, an intelligent teacher. Keep reading and checking. He is calm and that calmness drives the shouters crazy.

  3. Philip February 23, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Walker is one of the most crooked guys in history and if he becomes president, we all are in for real bad times! We will for sure find out how bad oppression can become here in the U.S. for sure! WALKER HAS GOT TO GO. THERE IS NOTHING TOO EVIL FOR THAT GUY. REALLY.

  4. Paul Kornblueh February 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    Interesting article. Vis a vie paragraph three, things do not “center around” things center on. Sadly we tend to get the governments we deserve I do not understand why Wisconsin’s blue collar and middle class gave away it’s place at the table to supply side trickle downer’s who moved in on social issues to systematically destroy the union movement. This goes back to the original right to work lobbying being done in the seventies. I was in Madison then and heard many a drunk YAFer crowing about the transformation they were going to make in Wisconsin, well they did it, and you let them. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” BTW The Weekend was an invention of The American Labor Movement.

    • Jerry Wilegus February 28, 2015 at 10:03 am #

      What the main item that needed to be removed from the “Union Bosses” Control was the health care control of the health care dollars. The Union Bosses did not allow competitive bidding for those health care dollars. Once schools where able to go out and get bids for Healthcare. They where able to save serious money. Some school districts saved millions of dollars.

      • Barbara With February 28, 2015 at 11:25 am #

        Not so much here either. What health care plan does Walker have? The school in my town might have to close because of Walker’s outrageous cuts. Why did he not ask the corporations to chip in rather than having this all fall on the middle and lower class? And what about all those $$$ he is spending on his private security? No minimum wage, now RTW which he again lied about over and over again. We have it all on tape. It’s hard to watch people deny it when he is caught on camera with the lies. What makes you believe him even when he is caught lying?

      • Jerry Wilegus February 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

        Don’t know if your school district is in Milwaukee or Dane County. That went out of there way NOT to take advantage of the ACT-10 cost savings option. Where the Union Bosses did not make much or any concessions on Health Care Cost. On the Health Care Corp That They Control. And the only school districts that where talking layoffs. Are in the districts that did not take advantage of ACT -10 cast savings.

      • Barbara With February 28, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        Jerry I am not sure of what you speak. If you could provide some documentation it would be easier. However to put the blame on union bosses is not right. I have no doubt that there are some unions that need reform. But tell me how you can stand in support of a man who has a circle of people in his charge who went to jail? Six of them. In fact, one of the only ones who claims to also be his personal friend, Tim Russell went to jail for child enticement. That means he was trying to ensnare an underage boy. I am not making this up. And all the open records released show walker using the secret router system that was located not 25 feet from his desk.

        This state might have needed some change. Of course. But he stole our democratic process. Him and the Tea party republicans. I was there, watching as they ignored the voice of the people–mining for one, and now Right to Work. Overwhelming opposition. Not one amendment given by the Democrats were even considered. They stole our process. It doesn’t matter to me if Act 10 was good or bad…he lied about it and he continues to lie about everything. Who can stand in support of Act 10 or any other law that was written by ALEC, that locked out the democratic process and that give money to his cronies, who do not have to be accountable for it? Remember this?

        And Walker said over and over he had to pass this budget because teacher’s unions were making the state bankrupt. Well guess what? Another lie. Remember this? HE had to admit under oath is has no impact on the budget:

        Please. education yourself or provide some evidence of your statements. And please…is this the kind of government you want? I don’t.

      • Barbara With February 28, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        My school district is in Ashland County.

      • Jerry Wilegus February 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm #


  5. Long Walk February 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    The fact that Walker once had long hair is an embarrassment to every hippie that has ever protested the government. His holding the office of governor is an embarrassment to every law abiding citizen.

  6. jimmy March 1, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I hear on TV that the iron mine is off the grid for now! Should put walker’s office there. It’s a no no and so should he be —-for the state of Wisconsin.

  7. donaldlvasicek March 2, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Wisconsin voters are to blame for Walker’s position as governor. Many base their voting on emotion in place of intellect. Where voters should do research on candidates and issues before they vote, many, instead, vote for someone who represents what looks good to them, but, in reality, what they vote for will put the screws to them, and many of them won’t even know it. Voter awareness is vital. Without it, people like Walker will continue to exploit the masses and threaten everything that is good in America.

  8. alteregoliz March 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on alteregoliz.

  9. dave March 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    This story is nothing but a bunch of lies. Made up by the scared left. Because he actually wants to improve the horrible position this country find its self in!

    • Barbara With March 29, 2015 at 11:27 am #

      Dave maybe you need to read my response to Virginia.

    • Rick Rosio June 19, 2015 at 9:24 am #


  10. mar April 24, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    The Koch brothers got Mitch McConnell elected in Kentucky. They run elections. I don’t know how they do it. If they are backing this monster then it would look really bad for the USA. The Koch brothers want complete control, getting rid of all checks and balances. It is really bleak.

  11. Edward Leino April 28, 2015 at 2:28 am #

    Anyone who’s ever read anything about Huey Long and his Governorship of Louisiana would find these tactics and policies very familiar. He was a dictator and fiercely suppressed anyone who opposed him.
    Our current Governor, Bobby (lobby) Jindal is out of the state more than he is here,supposedly garnering trade for us,while in fact spending time getting national attention for his Presidential run. It’s no wonder that he and Walker are such good buddies. A vote for either one of them would be a great mistake

  12. Robert Ervin April 28, 2015 at 5:45 am #

    at age 70, a retired Realtor, and a former Republican, I’ve had more time to realize how dangerous and outrageous Walker really is and how stupid and naive his supporters really are. they should make time to pay attention and think for themselves instead of allowing the super rich to think for them.

  13. Rich June 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Here’s another lie from Walker. He said the reason he had to leave Marquette was to get a job to provide for his family. His family? He didn’t have a family until 3 years after he left Marquette! Why in the world would he lie about something like that? Because he is a pathological liar, that’s why.

  14. jolenta June 20, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    Thank you for the compilation and thank you Barbara With for making it even more comprehensive. Walker is a dangerous individual who has no place in a civil society. If he dupes the country the way he has twice duped the people of Wisconsin, we are going down fast.

  15. Peter Goddard June 21, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    6/21/15 Just wanted to THANK YOU for this unknown info on WALKER! I am in Florida and do not hear anything that goes on in your State! Peace! Thank you SO MUCH!

  16. Chip Zito June 21, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    I used to live in Wisconsin and know what Scott Walker is all about.In a nutshell this man is 100000000000000000000% PURE EVIL I urge everyone who votes regardless of your party to avoid the son of a ^%# like the plague! If for some slim reason he winds up being President all I have to say is God help our world. I am not kiddin. the man make “Dubya” look like an appetizer when Walker is Thanksgiving!

  17. smayfield July 14, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    For more information about Walker’s history and his (in)ability to negotiate check out our film, Wisconsin Rising http://www.wisconsinrising.com/

  18. esmayfield July 14, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    For more information about Walker and his (in)ability to negotiate check out our film http://www.wisconsinrising.com/

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