While being roundly trashed from all sides for his budget proposal to gut the Wisconsin Idea, Scott Walker attempted to deflect blame for the short-sighted attack on higher education and public service calling it a “drafting error,” but new documents released from Walker’s office show that not only did the governor’s staff know about the plan, they approved it.
A series of emails obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy under the state’s open records law shows that Walker’s chief of staff gave instructions on the proposal and was copied twice on the final language, giving the lie to a previous claim that the final language “was not seen or approved” by the governor’s office.
The Center for Media and Democracy reports:
Walker’s claim that "miscommunication" caused the workforce readiness provision being added to the exclusion of the "search for truth" and other mission language is contradicted by an email from Nathan Schwanz to Walker’s policy advisor Waylon Hurlburt explaining that the instructions came from Walker Chief of Staff Eric Schutt:
"ES [Chief of Staff Eric Schutt] had indicated their mission statement should be short and to the point—3 or so expectations of the state, some cans and cannots, and that’s it."
The emails also show that Schwanz consistently copied Schutt on email correspondence containing multiple drafts of the UW budget section just days before the budget's introduction. Both drafts that CMD reviewed contained the final version of the language which struck the Wisconsin Idea from the UW mission statement.
In a tortured statement released as the proposal was gaining national attention, Walker threw his staff, the budget writing staff, and UW staff under the bus for the “miscommunication” while simultaneously blaming former Gov. Jim Doyle.
“How much more evidence do we need that Scott Walker is a liar who won’t take responsibility for his own actions?” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “On the self-inflicted budget deficit, on the disaster at his flagship jobs agency, and even on proposals drafted at the direction of his senior staff, nothing is ever Scott Walker’s fault.”