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Scott Walker Tag

We have been covering the "John Doe" investigations of Scott Walker and Wisconsin conservatives since January 2014, when it came on our radar after a state court judge quashed certain subpoenas. Since then, we've had over 25 posts, detailing the depths to which Democratic prosecutors sank in the effort to get Walker and his supporters, as well as related litigation. John Doe No. 1 targeted Walker's time as Milwaukee County Executive. That probe failed to find any misconduct by Walker. John Doe No. 2 targeted alleged illegal coordination during the Recall Election between Walker's campaign and conservative groups. A state court judge already has ruled that even if there was such coordination, it was not illegal; that ruling is on appeal in the state courts. A federal District Court ruled the same way, but was reversed by the federal appeals court primarily on procedural grounds as to whether a federal court should interfere in a state investigation; a request is pending for the U.S. Supreme Court to take that case. In a second federal case, the same District Judge ordered Wisconsin not to enforce its coordination law as relates to issue advocacy. We’ll see if that holds up on appeal. While the legal proceedings are interesting, it is the physical and emotional abuse visited up innocent conservative activists by John Doe investigators that is particularly outrageous. We've focused on the home raids before, including this description by George Will, The nastiest political tactic this year:

Scott Walker was the latest in the line of Republican candidates and potential candidates to address the New Hampshire Leadership Forum, in the nation's first primary (Iowa is a caucus). Walker's speech was well received. Stephen F. Hayes at The Weekly Standard reports:
Walker guided the crowd through a brief history of his tenure as Wisconsin governor, punctuating the story with suggestions about what his reforms in back home might mean if he were to attempt something similar as president. “Washington is 68 square miles surrounded by reality,” he said, adapting a popular conservative appraisal of Madison. Walker expanded the stump speech he had given in Iowa back in January, a coming out party of sorts, that propelled him to co-frontrunner status in national and early-state polling. The new content made clear that Walker is a hawk and that in a Walker presidency the United States would not only reengage with the world but would project its power without reservation. He called the war on radical Islam and “generational” war and scorched Barack Obama for his ambivalence on the threat. “We’re going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil and not ours."
Todd Beamon at NewsMax provides some highlights from the speech:

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has reacted to Hillary Clinton's unsurprising announcement of her intention to run for president in 2016 by calling her part of the problem. Millaine Wells of We Are Green Bay News:
Gov. Walker reacts to Clinton announcement The field of Presidential hopefuls is growing. Hillary Clinton joined the race over the weekend and an announcement is expected today from Senator Marco Rubio. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is also expected in the field of GOP candidates. But, he has yet to make it official. That is not keeping his name out of the political spotlight. Governor Walker took to Twitter to criticize Hillary Clinton... Governor Scott Walker responded to the Clinton announcement with a flurry of tweets. One says "@HillaryClinton has the same Washington-knows-best mentality people around the country are looking to move beyond". According to Kelley "We hear politicians, new people getting into politics, they want to change it. Especially DC, which is really hard to change even though you have great ideas and great projects it is really hard to change the system".
Watch the video report:

During a recent visit to New Hampshire, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said that he bought a sweater at Kohl's department store for one dollar. Politifact felt it was necessary to make sure the story was true:
Gov. Scott Walker says he bought a sweater for $1 at Kohl's When Gov. Scott Walker took his presidential ambitions to New Hampshire, he shared a penny-pinching story that would have been right at home in bargain-hunting Wisconsin. At the center of the story: A new sweater, a dollar and Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s. The department store chain is well known for its deep discounts -- ones so deep that the company has faced legal challenges over its pricing practices in Kansas, Massachusetts and California. At issue in the California case, for instance, was complaints that the retailer listed "normal" prices for products but never sold them for that price. Walker likes to point out that shortly after he was married, his wife, Tonette, was mortified because he didn’t know the drill at Kohl’s. In Concord, N.H., he told the crowd at a March 14, 2015 workshop about a "critical mistake" he made while shopping at a Kohl’s store... Now, we grant this is not the most important topic in politics today. But we decided to fact check it for two reasons. First, we heard from readers from around the country who thought it was an unbelievable story -- as in, literally impossible to believe. Second, it goes to what has been a major theme of Walker’s visits to some of the early primary states -- that he is just an average guy...

Scott Walker was interviewed by Charlie Sykes about the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act protests. Walker defended the law, stated that Wisconsin had a similar provision embodied in its Constitution, and that the outrage was sparkd by those “chronically looking for ways to be upset about things,” BuzzFeed reported:
Walker said the outrage for the law was coming from people who hadn’t really looked at what the law really is and were just looking for a reason to be upset. “I just think this is people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things instead of really looking what it is. I believe in protecting religious freedoms. It’s inherent in our state’s constitution. Heck, it’s inherent in our U.S. Constitution, and again, Wisconsin, we’ve done it, and we’re stronger for it.” Asked about what would happen to a baker who did wanting to provide services to a same-sex wedding in the state, Walker didn’t address the scenario, but said Wisconsin’s law strikes “a healthy balance.” “Again, if you look at the constitution there is both a combination of religious freedoms protecting the constitution and back in the ’80s, long, long ago when I was still a kid, there were also provisions there that would protect against discrimination including a gay or lesbian individual out there,” he said. “So there is a healthy balance of someone can’t be discriminated, say, in the workplace and that — but for someone who has a conscientious objection, based on their religious

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported Scott Walker as having "adjusted his stance on immigration" at a private dinner in New Hampshire. After drawing intense criticism for supporting the eventual legalization of illegal immigrants currently in the United States, Walker made a bold move. Earlier this month, Governor Walker admittedly changed his position on legalizing undocumented individuals saying, “My view has changed, I’m flat out saying it.” Fox News reported:
Walker in 2013 said a plan in which illegal immigrants can become United States citizens by first paying penalties and enduring a waiting period “makes sense.” However, he is now saying such a plan is tantamount to amnesty, amid criticism that he has flip-flopped on that issue and others — including right-to-work legislation in his home state. “I don’t believe in amnesty,” said Walker, who finished second Saturday in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates. “We need to secure the border. We ultimately need to put in place a system that works — a legal immigration system that works.”
Just weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reports that in a private dinner, away from the eyes of the press, Governor Walker is back to his old amnesty lovin' ways. The reporter relied on attendee reports; providing no indication he attended the dinner personally.

Liz Mair resigned or was effectively fired by Scott Walker's SuperPAC from her role as communications strategist after some controversial tweets came to light in which she trashed the Iowa caucus process and arguably Iowans. That her policy positions also were more liberal than Walker's factored into the mix. I wrote about this yesterday in explaining why I was Not outraged over Scott Walker and Liz Mair. The reaction from much of the conservative media to Mair's apparent firing was a full-blown freak out stoked, in part, by personal and professional friendships with Mair. Hot Air's Quotes of the Day yesterday is a compilation of conservative media trashing Walker over Mair, with some gloating by liberal media over the in-fighting. Twitchy has more reaction under the headline, Conservatives react to Liz Mair resignation: Is Scott Walker ‘ready for prime time’? There is a consistent theme -- that Walker has shown he is untrustworthy because he didn't stand by Mair, that Walker is tough on the opposition but weak in defending friends, and that Walker has irreparably damaged his presidential candidate credentials in the process. The concern trolling is intense, like this at Mediaite:

I don't know Liz Mair. I had heard her name before, and apparently she is friends with a lot of conservative bloggers who speak highly of her. Mair was hired by Scott Walker's nascent presidential PAC to handle communications. Then it came out that Mair trashed the Iowa caucuses and arguably some Iowa Republicans on Twitter. Then some people in the Iowa Republican Party started to make a stink about that, and it was written up in The Des Moines Register, and all of the sudden, Mair was a campaign issue. At the same time, Mair came under attack because of her more liberal policy preferences, particularly on immigration. Matt Boyle at Breitbart.com took it one step further, and questioned Mair's dual citizenship, a true WTF line of inquiry. As someone handling communications for a campaign, it's never good when you are the campaign issue because of what you have communicated, or for your own personal policy preferences. Mair resigned, it being unclear at this writing if she was effectively fired or if she recognized that her primary role had been compromised by her own actions and took the step herself:
Veteran Republican strategist Liz Mair told The Associated Press that she was leaving Walker's team just a day after she had been tapped to lead his online communication efforts, citing the distraction created by a series of recent Twitter posts about Iowa's presidential caucuses. "The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Gov. Walker has always encouraged in political discourse," Mair said in a statement announcing her immediate resignation. "I wish Gov. Walker and his team all the best."

The "John Doe" law in Wisconsin is unique in that is sets up an investigative tool which, while nominally under the supervision of a Judge, gives prosecutors wide ranging power to conduct secret investigations. Targets and those from whom records and evidence is gathered are required to stay silent about what is being done to them. The Wisconsin John Doe law has been around for a century, but recently has come under intense criticism because it has been used by Democratic prosecutors as a political weapon against Scott Walker and conservative activists. Scroll through our John Doe (WI) tag for more background. The short version is that there have been two John Doe investigations of Scott Walker, neither of which has found any wrongdoing by Walker. John Doe No. 1 concerned Walker's time as Milwaukee County Executive, and is closed. John Doe No. 2 concerned alleged illegal coordination between conservative activists and groups and the Walker campaign during the 2012 Recall Election. John Doe No. 2 has been the subject of multiple litigations in which conservative groups allege that prosecutors used meritless legal theories to intimidate and harass the conservative movement into political silence through raids on homes and seizure of emails, texts and other electronic evidence. A whistleblower stepped forward to claim that the investigation was promoted if not instigated by the union-operative wife of the lead prosecutor, something he denies. John Doe No. 2 is currently stalled, as both state and federal judges have found the legal theories behind the investigation are invalid as matters of law.

Put another feather in his cap, Scott Walker today signed Right to Work legislation in Wisconsin, becoming the 24th State to do so. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported prior to the signing:
Gov. Scott Walker will sign so-called right-to-work legislation on Monday morning at Badger Meter in Brown Deer after the Assembly passed the measure Friday morning following almost 24 hours of debate. The measure bans labor contracts that would make it mandatory for workers to pay union fees. The legislation zoomed into play this year, pushed by GOP legislators, after Walker brushed aside the issue as a distraction during his re-election campaign last year. Now as a presumed 2016 presidential hopeful, the pending change in law could add polish to Walker's record on business. Twenty-four states have right-to-work laws. Supporters say that workers shouldn't be forced to pay a group if they don't believe in it. They say the change could provide a spark to the Wisconsin economy. Opponents say businesses and unions should be left alone to negotiate labor contracts. They say the law change isn't about worker rights but more about driving down wages and exerting more control over the workplace.
Here are some images from the signing:

The Daily Beast has an article on how Scott Walker's rivals plan on taking him down. Not his Democratic rivals. We know what they do. KOCH. JOHN DOE. KOCH. KOCH. RIGHT-WING. HATES TEACHERS. KOCH. NOT HAHVAHD. KOCH. WOULD KILL YOUR PUPPY IF COULD. KOCH. No, his Republican rivals, How the Other Candidates Plan to Kill Scott Walker's Candidacy:
The Daily Beast spoke with strategists working with each of Walker’s top rivals to the Republican nomination, granting those who requested it anonymity in order to speak freely about how they are sizing up the field’s first leader.... “The question for him is, ‘Is he ready for prime time,’ ” said a top strategist to one Walker rival. “He has always been a little cocky, and you are starting to see that being governor of Wisconsin doesn’t necessarily prepare you for storm of a national campaign.” But much to his rivals consternation, Walker’s poll numbers rose among Republicans in the days after those miscues, as they brought him both name recognition and a sense among Republican primary voters that the liberal media was out to get him. Republican operatives say they are just beginning to pour over his record from a decade in the State Assembly, eight years as county executive of the relatively liberal Milwaukee county executive and four runs for governor, including an aborted attempt in 2005 and a failed recall attempt in 2012... “This is a guy who has literally been in elective office his entire adult life,” said a strategist for one rival campaign. “He has made his living off the government sector, the taxpayer. He has never really, to my knowledge, had any kind of serious existence outside of the public sector.”
Blah. Blah. Blah. Walker survived Wisconsin's long, strange trip:

Gawker Media website Deadspin helped Cory Gardner win the Colorado Senate race, and contributed to Republicans taking the Senate, by botching a gotcha story about Garnder supposedly faking his high school football record. Deadspin was dead wrong, and we said Thanks Deadspin! Now Gawker Media website Jezebel has done the equivalent for Scott Walker. "Senior Reporter" (what could that possible mean at Jezebel?) Natasha Vargas-Cooper thought she had a big, BIG scoop that proved Walker hated women, or something. You see, Walker supposedly didn't want sexual assault statistics reported by the University of Wisconsin because budget cuts would defund such reporting: Jezebel Scott Walker Sexual Assault Reporting Original It was the perfect WAR ON WOMEN narrative. But Vargas-Cooper didn't know the full story, perhaps because she was too busy dancing on Walker's political grave. The Daily Beast then picked up the story, and Scott Walker supposedly hating women spread like wildfire. Turns out the reporting cut was requested by the University of Wisconsin itself because it was redundant of federal reporting it already did -- why spend the money to report the same thing twice? And the world came crashing down on Jezebel and Vargas-Cooper, but she stood strong in the face of the patriarchy:

If you think the mainstream media is not out to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 every bit as much as it was for Obama in 2008 and 2012, then you need your head examined. The multi-day and ongoing demand that Scott Walker verify that Obama is Christian and loves America is a good example. Why is it that Republican candidates and politicians are required to verify the bona fides of Democrats? Here are three questions I have yet to hear Obama or any Democrat asked:

1. Should Joe Biden stop touching women without consent?

2. Is Elizabeth Warren Native American?

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Washington Post's Robert Costa and Dan Balz interviewed Scott Walker yesterday. Of everything they had opportunity to ask, they chose to ask Walker whether he thought Obama was a Christian. How Walker's opinion on the matter is remotely relevant or newsworthy is unclear to normal people, who expect the press to do that whole "truth to power" thing. Walker, seemingly unamused by the obscure religion question, responded appropriately, saying he "didn't know."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian. “I don’t know,” Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion. “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said, his voice calm and firm. “I’ve never asked him that,” he added. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has made a name for himself in the fight to roll back union influence. He easily overcame a 2012 recall effort organized by big labor and other progressive interests, and since then has been held up by many conservatives as an example of what Republican leadership should look like. Now considered an emerging contender in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Walker is taking new steps to court both employers, and workers who support right-to-work policies over forced union membership. Legislators in Wisconsin are planning on fast-tracking a new, controversial bill that would make Wisconsin a right-to-work state. Walker had previously urged the legislature to put the issue on the back burner, saying that the revived controversy would conflict with his larger agenda, but after a series of meetings with lawmakers, has agreed to sign on to the effort. That promise has not come without controversy. More from the AP:
"I think we can do this next week without it getting really ugly," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. "We'll see next week whether the Capitol blows up. I don't know." Right to work is a "false promise for Wisconsin," said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, in a prepared statement. "Right to Work will not create jobs and will lower wages for all workers," Dan Bukiewicz, president of the Milwaukee Building-Construction Trades Council, which represents union construction workers in the Milwaukee area, called right-to-work "an unneeded distraction." "It's very disappointing they're going to fast-track it. Usually when things are done fast they're done incorrectly," he said. "I haven't heard anybody come out from a business standpoint saying this is what they want. The residual results of this will hurt the citizens of Wisconsin." Proponents of right-to-work argue it will make Wisconsin more competitive and that workers should have the freedom to decide whether to pay and join a union, rather than having dues automatically withdrawn.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker never finished college. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is teetering on the edge of a presidential run. Do we have a problem here? Howard Dean thinks so:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker didn't graduate from college, and Howard Dean says it would be a problem if the Republican ran for president. He's one of the few. “The issue is, how well educated is this guy?” said Dean, a former Vermont governor who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Feb. 12, amid a surge in polls for Walker. “I worry about people being president of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science.”
Dean's comments were met with almost instant backlash from both the left and the right. Snobbery. Elitism. Distance and disown! And yet... And yet. I'm not the only one wondering who will be the first to de-glove on the issue of academic gravitas vs. real life experience, and it's a real concern for Walker, who by all accounts has more than earned the right to throw his hat in the ring. Recently, a fan by the name of Kyle Smith asked "Dirty Jobs" star Mike Rowe about his thoughts on college as a prerequisite for higher office; Rowe's response was epic. He told the story of his first TV audition---he was tasked with creating an 8 minute cold pitch for a Ticonderoga #2 pencil. He had no experience as a professional actor, but 8 minutes of pressure mixed with raw talent got him a job on QVC and helped him launch his career. The tie-in? Don't "confuse qualifications with competency."
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