The Koch Brothers History of Tarnishing Democracy in Wisconsin
According to data obtained from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Brothers’ KochPAC during the 2010 election. KochPAC also contributed $12,500 to Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and more than $10,000 in support of Republican legislators and Walker henchmen such as Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, Senator Randy Hopper and Rep. Joel Kleefisch, husband of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
The Koch Brothers also helped Walker via the Republican Governors Association, to which KochPAC donated $1 million. The money helped the RGA spend $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker and $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
In a further, more radical step to ensure Walker’s victory at all costs, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, led in Wisconsin by long-time Walker ally and state ethics violator Mark Block, were exposed in late 2010 for coordinating with the Republican Party of Wisconsin to implement a large-scale voter caging scheme designed to suppress the votes of minorities and college students.
The Koch Brothers hand in Wisconsin guides more than just campaign strategy and finance. The Kochs have also seen fit to ensure they have a place at the table in promoting their pro-corporate, anti-working family conservative agenda through Scott Walker’s biggest cheerleaders, Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce.
Koch insider Jeffrey Schoepke served for seven years under Republican Governor, and Walker supporter, Tommy Thompson, before joining WMC in 2000 as its chief lobbyist. Schoepke now serves this same role for Koch Industries, having opened up shop here in Madison just two days after Walker’s inauguration. Koch also has a “ringer” on the board of WMC, Georgia-Pacific executive Kelly L. Wolff.
Americans for Prosperity also has a hand in financing support for, and supporters of, Scott Walker’s divisive power grab, launching hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of television, radio, print and web-based advertising, as well as providing busses for Tea Partiers to come to Madison.
This support for Walker’s divisive power grab comes while Walker is engineering an all-out attack on the exercise of first amendment rights by his opponents in Wisconsin by shutting off legislator’s phone lines, blocking internet access to websites organizing protests against his union-busting bill and allowing his lockstep legislature to close public hearings on the bill, leaving thousands of voices unheard.
In return for the Koch’s generosity, Scott Walker has seen fit to slip 10 lines into his 144 page union-busting “budget repair” bill that allow for the sale of state-owned heating, cooling and power plants, without the solicitation of bids.
This potential giveaway goes to a corporation who has slashed the jobs of hundreds of workers at their Wisconsin subsidiaries in places like Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan, all while growing the Koch Brothers’ personal wealth by more than $11 billion.