You can read the op-ed piece here:
A writer for the conservative Wall Street Journal's opinion page has published a piece criticizing GOP Gov. Scott Walker for his TV ad accusing his Democratic foe, Mary Burke, of profiting from Trek Bicycles' outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to the low-wage nation of China. Burke is a former Trek executive whose family started and runs the company.
Allysia Finley, an assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com, accuses Walker's campaign of channeling Team Obama for the president's attacks on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on outsourcing in the 2012 election.
"We normally associate criticism of outsourcing with Democrats, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a reminder that Republicans aren't above playing the 'Benedict Arnold CEO' card themselves to fan populist furies," Finley writes.
In Walker's ad, a woman tells two children about jobs being shipped to China and that some workers in that country earn only $2 an hour. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 7/21/14
Going after Trek Bicycle may have been a stupid move on Walker's behalf:
And it makes Mary Burke (D. WI) look way more knowledgeable about business than Walker:Walker took a “very calculated risk” by going after Trek, said Felicia Miller, a former Procter & Gamble brand manager who now teaches marketing at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“I’m sure they’ve done some research and found that’s going to play well with whatever constituency you’re trying to reach,” Miller said. “It’s a tightrope and it can definitely backfire.”
Trek, the world’s second-largest bicycle maker, is known globally not just for manufacturing but for innovation and marketing, said Tom Schuler, a 1980 Olympic cyclist who runs an athlete management business in Milwaukee and organizes a series of professional cycling races in Wisconsin every June.
Even though it does some manufacturing overseas, Trek still makes more bikes in the United States than any other company, Schuler said.
“It just seems like most people in Wisconsin would think Trek is a great asset to the state of Wisconsin,” he said.
Walker insisted he is just trying to give voters the facts.
“We’re not criticizing Trek; we’re pointing out that voters deserve to know the full record,” Walker said Friday. Walker’s criticism amid the heat of the campaign comes just two years after his administration lauded Trek and made it one of five companies at the center of a marketing drive to attract other businesses to Wisconsin.
In 2012, Walker’s administration described Trek as“world-renowned manufacturer of bicycles and related products” and a company that embodies the state’s “pioneering spirit and heritage of innovation, key attributes of our state’s business climate.” Trek was chosen for that marketing campaign even though it had already outsourced jobs overseas.
Now, with polls showing Walker and Burke in a tight race, Walker’s campaign has released an ad accusing Trek of “making millions of dollars sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin.” - Wisconsin State Journal, 7/21/14
Walker's been getting a lot of negative press lately. Like this:Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke says an ad in which Gov. Scott Walker criticizes Trek Bicycle Corp. shows he doesn't understand how the global marketplace works.
Burke, a former Trek executive, continued her criticism Monday of the ad Walker's campaign launched last week. It says she got rich from a company that sent jobs overseas, where women and children are paid as little as $2 an hour.
Burke says Walker is dragging a great Wisconsin company through the mud for political reasons. She says if he knew more about global economics he'd understand how companies are supposed to compete worldwide. - AP, 7/21/14
And this:With Gov. Scott Walker's one-sentence statement on Thursday that he wants the Legislature to repeal Wisconsin's involvement in the Common Core standards movement, we have crossed onto turf where chaos in education policy is likely to reign for the coming school year.
At the same time, I bet we're also on the way, in the long run, to changing very little when it comes to state standards for what kids should learn. I say that because states that have announced they are going to set their own standards are generally coming up with new plans that actually change little. That's for two reasons.
■One: The Common Core standards are not perfect, but they're really pretty sound (and there is wide agreement they're a lot better than what Wisconsin had before). Any serious-minded group, regardless of politics, would agree on a big portion of what's there. The current furor has focused little on problems with specific standards, because, for the most part, there are none.
■Two: What is so state-specific about what to teach kids? Two plus two is four in every state. Kids need to learn to read well in every state. Math and reading achievement need improvement in every state. So much of this isn't political and isn't specific to one location.
But rather than settling down now and working in a constructive, united fashion on improving outcomes for Wisconsin kids, we appear set to go through a period of unhelpful posturing, bickering and disruption.
Statewide, educators have put tens of thousands of hours into getting ready for the coming school year, using the Common Core standards as their guideposts.
I've seen and heard enough to be impressed with how many school staffs are working on how to reach kids more effectively through classroom work that is deeper, richer and more involving. Not everyone likes it, nor are things going entirely smoothly, but teachers are putting a lot of energy into how to up their game. This is good, even as midcourse corrections are inevitable. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 7/19/14
And this:Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration acknowledges a $93 million budget shortfall in the Department of Health Services is due mainly to his Medicaid program, but insists the state’s taxpayers won’t end up with the bill.
It is likely the state would face no shortfall at all — at least for $59 million of that amount — if Walker had accepted federal funding available under Obamacare to expand Medicaid coverage, an analyst with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau told me Monday.
Walker’s general rejection of the Affordable Care Act included saying ‘no’ to federal funding to cover the cost of any new Medicaid recipients in Wisconsin. As a result, Wisconsin continues to pay 40 percent of the Medicaid cost and the feds pay 60 percent.
Because Walker’s partial expansion of Medicaid is exceeding his staff’s expectations for enrollment of childless adults whose income is 100 percent or less of the poverty level, his program is costing more than expected. Obamacare would have covered the full cost for all new enrollees whose income was up to 133 percent of the poverty level. - Milwaukee Business Journal, 7/21/14
And this:Monday, the Wisconsin Democratic Party called on Walker, who is up for re-election in November, to reimburse the state for security costs incurred during a family vacation in the Bahamas and for out-of-state political trips.
The Journal Sentinel reported last week that Wisconsin taxpayers spent more than $2.23 million in 2013 for 10 state troopers to protect Walker and his family, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and out-of-state officials who visit the Badger State. The newspaper said that amount was up from $657,457 paid for security by Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, in his last year in office in 2010.
Records obtained by the Journal Sentinel under the state’s open records law show security was provided to Walker on at least 110 out-of-state trips during his first three years in office. That includes $12,582 spent on travel and lodging for five state troopers to accompany Walker to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, where he was among the featured speakers. - USA Today, 7/14/14
And this:A coalition of religious leaders and prison reform advocates claim the Department of Corrections is keeping people incarcerated who should be granted parole.
The group, called WISDOM, says nearly 3,000 state inmates are eligible for parole, but are being kept behind bars because of lengthy sentences that were handed down before Wisconsin’s truth in sentencing law was passed in 2000. The Reverend Jerry Hancock, who works with a prison ministry group, argues it costs the state $96 million a year to keep those people incarcerated.
The group argues the Department of Corrections has reduced the number of inmates being granted parole since Governor Scott Walker took office by almost 50 percent. Hancock and others are calling on state officials to be more transparent about the process and what inmates can do to secure their release. - Wisconsin Radio Network, 7/10/14
There's also this:Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin quietly tried to slip through a bill that was “designed” to decriminalize campaign abuses after prosecutors began investigating Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) associates over illegal issue ads during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, a report suggested this week.
For several years, prosecutors have been investigating the possibility that Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups, like the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. In October of 2013, the so-called John Doe investigation executed search warrants on two of Walker’s top associates, and subpoenaed the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The Center for Media and Democracy revealed on Tuesday that just weeks after those search warrants were executed, Senators Mary Lazich (R) and Zach Bemis (R) began working on a bill that “would have had the effect of legalizing the issue ad coordination under investigation.”
When Republicans in the state Senate tried — and failed — to push through Senate Bill 654 in March of 2014, most experts thought it was simply an effort to limit disclosures in political campaigns. No mention was made of the Walker scandal, but the manner in which the bill was fast-tracked for a vote was puzzling. - Raw Story, 7/15/14
And most recently, this:Now, Walker's allies are acknowledging that the probe is grounded in Wisconsin law, but are claiming that prosecutors are enforcing a "zombie law" — allegedly rendered unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court — that the Walker campaign was purportedly free to ignore.
This is not the case.
The governor is endowed with many powers, but he cannot single-handedly rewrite the law or reverse legal precedent.
For decades, Wisconsin law has capped campaign donations to limit the influence of money in elections, and required candidates to disclose major contributions so the public can see who is bankrolling our politicians. Courts have interpreted the law to mean that "issue ads" coordinated with a candidate for state office can be regarded as in-kind contributions to the campaign, because they are of great value to the campaign. Any coordinated issue ad "contributions" that exceed donation limits and are omitted from campaign filings can be illegal. The same is true in federal elections, under federal law.
Even if the Walker camp believed that coordinated issue ads shouldn't be regulated, or that at some point in the future a court might overrule existing Wisconsin precedent, this belief shouldn't have given them license to ignore well-established law during the 2012 elections, as the prosecutors' theory in the case alleges.
The U.S. Supreme Court has never held that counting electoral issue ads as contributions is unconstitutional. In fact, in 2003 the court explicitly upheld a provision of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that treats issue ads that air near federal elections (called "electioneering communications") as in-kind contributions if coordinated with a candidate. That holding has never been overturned.
And, even as a slim majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has chipped away at campaign finance limits for PACs and non-profits, it has done so with the express proviso that these groups are "independent" and their activities not coordinated with candidates.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in Citizens United vs. FEC that "the absence of prearrangement and coordination...undermines the value of the expenditure to the candidate." In other words, if a candidate is coordinating with a third-party group, that group's expenditures are of value to the campaign — and the contribution limits and disclosure requirements that apply to candidates would be rendered meaningless if politicians can work closely with a group that takes secret, million-dollar donations.
Wisconsin courts have had a similar take, and the John Doe prosecutors are relying on an interpretation of state law established by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 1999, in a precedent-setting case called Wisconsin Coalition for Voter Participation.
In that case, the court rejected arguments identical to those now being made by Walker and the Club for Growth, and held that, under Wisconsin law, electoral issue ads coordinated with a campaign count as contributions to the campaign. - PR Watch, 7/18/14
And he's been giving mixed messages on this issue:Gov. Scott Walker funneled more than $320,000 from his campaign account to defense attorneys over the last six months as he and his allies fought a secret probe into fundraising and spending during the 2012 recall election.
Details of those expenses were included in a campaign finance report filed Monday by the Republican governor. Other reports Monday showed the Republican candidate for attorney general with a huge money advantage over two of his Democratic opponents.
Walker's report showed his political committee sent nearly $213,000 to Sidley Austin, a large Chicago law firm where defense attorney John Gallo is a partner; more than $83,000 to the Mequon-based Biskupic & Jacobs law firm; and $25,000 to Milwaukee defense lawyer Michael Steinle.
All the expenses were labeled "legal fees — compliance/administrative."
They come after Walker's campaign paid Biskupic & Jacobs $86,000 in the second half of 2013. The firm is run by former U.S. Attorneys Steven Biskupic and Michelle Jacobs.
The latest legal expenses come on top of almost $650,000 that Walker's campaign paid to attorneys during an earlier John Doe investigation into his aides and associates during his time as Milwaukee County executive. That brings the total the governor has had to spend on John Doe investigations to more than $1 million.
The more recent probe was looking into whether conservative groups illegally coordinated their activities with Walker's campaign, but it has been halted by a federal judge. Prosecutors are appealing to reopen the probe. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 7/22/14
Now Walker claims this isn't a big issue for him but his actions speak louder than words:At a meeting of the National Governors Association in Nashville this weekend, Walker bemoaned the dramatic increase in unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. illegally, saying that the thought of the dangers such children risk to cross the border almost brings him “to tears.”
“You think of the trauma these kids are going through to get here, and you think of the trauma before that,” he said. “I put them on my own personal prayer list.”
Walker did not directly answer the question of what should be done with immigrant youngsters, saying only that simply releasing them into American society is problematic.
“If they go with people without legal status, our concern is that these children will just suddenly be gone and we’re not going to see them and that’ll just encourage more kids to come,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Walker did not suggest any solutions.
"Obviously, this is a heartbreaking humanitarian issue," Walker spokesperson Jocelyn Webster told the Cap Times. "However, this is a federal issue for which the federal government must find a solution."
The compassion Walker is voicing for the refugees echoes his initial response in 2010 to the controversial law passed in Arizona that empowered police officers to demand immigration papers from those suspected of being in the country illegally during arrests, traffic stops and other “lawful contacts.” Critics said the law would inevitably lead to racial profiling and harassment of Latino residents.
"I have serious concerns about the Arizona law — both because the law impedes on the inherent right of the federal government to do its job and to protect our borders, and also because in America we don't want our citizens getting pulled over because of how they look," said the initial statement from the then-Milwaukee County executive, who was in the middle of his first campaign for governor.
But after Mark Neumann, Walker’s opponent in the Republican primary, attacked him on the issue, Walker quickly walked back his initial position, saying he had researched the Arizona law further and would be “comfortable” supporting a similar policy in Wisconsin.
Since becoming governor, Walker has made clear that he is not interested in enacting such a law. In December 2012, he told reporters that although he wouldn’t promise to veto a bill passed by the Legislature, he would exert his political influence to make sure that the legislation never came to a vote. - The Cap Times, 7/15/14
With all this going on, Walker is still hoping that third time's a charm for him:At a gathering of governors in the South this weekend, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker downplayed the importance of gay marriage as a political issue.
"I don't think the Republican Party is fighting it," Walker said of gay marriage. He spoke with The Associated Press during an interview this weekend at the National Governors Association's summer meeting in Nashville.
"I'm not saying it's not important," continued Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid should he survive his re-election test this fall. "But Republicans haven't been talking about this. We've been talking about economic and fiscal issues. It's those on the left that are pushing it."
Walker, like other ambitious Republican governors, is trying to strike a delicate balance. While the Republican Party's religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition — in their rhetoric, at least. For some, the shift may be more a matter of tone than substance as the GOP tries to attract new voters before the midterm elections. Nonetheless, it is a dramatic turn for a party that has long been defined by social conservative values.
Walker's comments come just days after he formally appealed a federal judge's ruling striking down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriages, a ban he supported. But after his party's disastrous 2012 election, the Republican National Committee commissioned a report calling for more "inclusive and welcoming" tones on divisive social issues — particularly those "involving the treatment and the rights of gays."
Walker explained his court appeal simply as his obligation as governor to defend the state's constitution.
Other Republican governors, however, including New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie, opted against appealing a similar ruling in his state, clearing the way for gay marriage to become legal there. But his decision came only after he vetoed his state legislature's initial effort to legalize the practice. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, 7/13/14
And this ballot initiative creates a bigger headache for Walker:But a Walker three-peat is no sure thing. The governor has certainly amassed a record of achievement that should make him a shoe-in for reelection. He took a $3.6 billion deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus. After the state lost 133,000 jobs and 27,000 businesses under Gov. Jim Doyle (D), Walker created more than 100,000 jobs and added 20,000 new businesses. The unemployment rate dropped from 7.1 percent to 5.7 percent today. After years of double-digit tax increases, Walker cut taxes for every taxpayer in the state. He froze tuition for two years at the University of Wisconsin and promises to keep that freeze in place during his second term. And thanks to the collective-bargaining reforms he enacted, local governments have been able to balance their budgets without cutting services, schools have put more money into classrooms and the state’s pension is the only one in the country that is fully funded.
“On just about every measure that matters, Wisconsin is much better off than we were four years ago,” Walker says. “So in any other state, or at any other time in this state’s history, a record like that should warrant reelection, right?”
But Wisconsin is not any other state. It is one of the most closely divided purple states in the country. The most recent Marquette Law School poll showed that “the Wisconsin governor’s race has tightened to a dead heat” with Walker tied with former Doyle commerce secretary Mary Burke, 46-46 among registered voters. (He holds a 3-point lead among likely voters.) And while Walker has outraised his opponent, he knows he is still public enemy No. 1 to the union bosses and points out that the AFL-CIO recently announced that it is planning to spend at least $300 million this year to unseat GOP governors in five states — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and here in Wisconsin.
The haters thought they smelled blood in the water recently, after the release of court filings related to an investigation of his 2012 recall election. In one, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz requested documents to determine whether Walker was part of a “criminal scheme” to coordinate the activities of conservative groups. News outlets jumped at the chance to tie Walker to such a scheme. Buried or ignored in most of these stories was the fact that a federal judge had shut down the investigation, saying prosecutors had no case. - Washington Post, 7/14/14
Republicans like Walker have claimed that raising the minimum wage would hurt businesses and kill jobs but Burke disproved that:Wisconsin activists hope that several local referendums to raise the state minimum wage could threaten Gov. Scott Walker's (R) chances of re-election this fall, or at least pressure him to change his views on the issue.
Activists have successfully placed referendums to raise the local minimum wage to $10.10 on the ballot in several Wisconsin cities and counties, including Milwaukee and Dane counties, which have high concentrations of Democratic voters. Even though the measures would be non-binding, activists say that they could still increase turnout in an election that is expected to see a drop-off from 2012.
Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director of Wisconsin Jobs Now, a nonprofit organization that organizes workers, told The Huffington Post she estimates roughly 800,000 fewer people will vote this November than voted in 2012. A proposal to raise the minimum wage from the state's current rate of $7.25 per hour -- a proposal supported by 76 percent of Wisconsin voters -- could get people to the polls, Epps-Addison said.
"A significant portion of those voters are poor and working-class families who would directly benefit from increasing the state's minimum wage," she said. "We think there is a huge base of people who this is their top issue, that will come out to the polls not because they want to support a particular candidate, but because they want to have their voice heard on this issue, which is largely being ignored in our state legislature."
Walker opposes raising the state's minimum wage. His opponent, Democratic businesswoman Mary Burke, has supported proposals to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.
"This is a really close race, and what we think will happen is that it will force the issue to become a more central theme in both of the candidates' campaigns," Epps-Addison said. "We want to make sure that folks who are most directly affected by the level of income inequality in Wisconsin have their say at the ballot box, and that will translate to some level of political power for them."
"We do think that ultimately Gov. Walker's position is going to need to evolve or he's going to be negatively impacted by his position because it's out of step with the majority of voters," Epps-Addison added. - Huffington Post, 7/2/14
Burke has been out on the campaign trail getting her name out to the voters for a while now:Trek Bicycles jobs likely wouldn’t be affected by an increase in the state minimum wage, Mary Burke said Monday.
The Democratic candidate for governor and former Trek executive was reacting to conservative questions about whether jobs at her former company and others around the state would be affected by an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Burke, who supports the increase from the current $7.25 an hour, said workers at Trek’s Waterloo plant already make more than that. It's "ridiculous" to expect workers to support themselves on the current minimum wage, Burke said.
"It ensures they are dependent on the government," she said.
Gov. Scott Walker has said that many minimum wage workers are teenagers in their first jobs and that raising the minimum wage would eliminate many of those jobs. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, 7/21/14
And she's vowing to undo the damage Walker has caused:Every year, Milwaukee communities commemorate Juneteenth Day, the date federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to announce the end of the Civil War and enforce the end of slavery. Last week marked Milwaukee’s 43rd annual Juneteenth Day celebration.
Community members celebrated with a parade and festival on the city’s North Side, where they enjoyed a visit by Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.
Burke, currently tied with Scott Walker in the race for Governor of Wisconsin, met with community members celebrating Juneteenth in Milwaukee last Thursday and in Madison on Saturday.
Burke called the celebration “an opportunity to renew our commitment toward a stronger and more united Wisconsin.”
Mary Burke has made strengthening Milwaukee a key priority in her campaign for governor and a central part of her vision to turn the state into a top-ten thriving economy.
Mary knows Milwaukee is full of resources and institutions that can help get Wisconsinites back to work.
Recently, the Anne E. Casey Foundation issued a report exposing Wisconsin as one of the worst states in the nation for African- American children.
For Burke, such outcomes are unacceptable. She believes that every person should have the resources and opportunity to succeed. - Milwaukee Courier, 6/28/14
She also wants to make this happen:Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has announced that as part of her plan for veterans she hopes to repeal a 2013 act that curtailed asbestos lawsuits.
Burke sidedwith veterans groups as they sharply criticized the measure in March, but the business-backed bill passed the Legislature on largely party-line votes. The Assembly passed the bill, 55-38, with all Republicans in favor of it and all Democrats against it. The Senate approved the bill, 17-16, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) joining all Democrats in opposing it.
In March the Wisconsin American Legion, Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars and Wisconsin Military Order of the Purple Heart issued a joint statement condemning Assembly Republicans for passing the bill but later stood down on their efforts to persuade Gov. Scott Walker to reject the measure after an aide to the governor told a leader of a veterans group there was no way to stop it.
Many veterans remain adamantly opposed to the business-backed measure because they say the majority of plaintiffs in asbestos lawsuits have served in the military. Asbestos, which has long been used for insulation and fireproofing, can cause cancer and respiratory illnesses.
Under Burke's veterans plan, she also said she would seek to maintain equal pay for veterans; add positions and committees to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to improve veterans education, employment and long-term care; and require the creation of an Office of Federal Liaison to ensure that state and national veterans services work together. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 7/7/14
Walker is more vulnerable than he ever was and we have a serious shot at defeating him. Of course the Kochs will spend big to dupe voters so we have to be ready. Click here to donate and get involved with Burke's campaign:Democrat Mary Burke on Thursday said as governor she would outlaw campaign donations from out-of-state residents — comments her opponents derided because 30% of Burke's recent contributions came from outside Wisconsin.
"As governor, I'm going to make sure, I'm going to work hard to actually outlaw donations from outside of the state," Burke said at a stop in Sister Bay in Door County, according to a tightly edited video released by the state Republican Party.
Joe Fadness, director of the party, pounced on the comments, saying they showed Burke was hypocritical because she has held out-of-state fundraisers and raised more than $1 million from people who don't live in Wisconsin.
"Burke should practice what she preaches and immediately return the donations she has received from outside Wisconsin," Fadness said in a news release.
Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said Burke's comments were in line with what the public wanted.
"In news sure to shake the governor's race to the core today, Mary Burke revealed that she shares a feeling held by roughly 100% of people with a pulse...there's too much money in politics," Zepecki said in a statement. "As governor, she is committed to exploring ways to lessen the influence of big-money special interests and people from outside the state trying to buy our elections."
For this race, Burke will follow the same set of fundraising rules Republican Gov. Scott Walker has to follow, Zepecki said. - Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 7/10/14