We’ve been touting the accomplishments of the organizers of the Wisconsin recall – over 500,000 signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker have already been gathered. But make no mistake: Walker and his Koch buddies are ready. The union-busting governor has raised $5.1 million since July, an incredible figure for an off-election year.
If you’re the kind of person who worries about scraping enough cash together to pay the electric and heating bill every month, you’re probably wondering: Where does one get $5.1 million?
Luckily, public interest groups in like One Wisconsin Now and journalists from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel were wondering the same thing. Turns out that Walker isn’t getting his financial support from the Wisconsin taxpayers he purports to represent.
When we say Governor Walker is acting on behalf of the super-rich, it’s not just a talking point. Looking at his financial reports, it’s clear that the wealthiest 1 Percent is pouring a great deal of resources into keeping their friend Scott in office.
Since July, Walker has raised $4.87 million from individual donors. Out of that, over $2.24 million came from those giving $1,000 and above. Put another way, 25 percent of his fundraising haul came from 0.00087 percent of his donors, a group of 41 people.
Is all this cash from working class folks in River Falls and Green Bay? Think again. 50 percent of Walker’s individual donations came from outside Wisconsin, including his top four donors who together gave $550,000. 655 out-of-state individuals gave $1,000 or more.
One of those donors is a man named Bob J. Perry, a billionaire from Houston, Texas. If you know his name, it’s because of his donations to another group that has been disastrous for working families: The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who attacked Senator John Kerry’s military record during the 2004 Presidential campaign, ultimately giving President Bush a second term. Perry has given Scott Walker $250,000 dollars. (Bob Perry is also part of the inner circle of donors to Governor Rick Perry, no relation.)
And this is information we know. There’s also, apparently, a whole bunch of information we do not know, because Walker has failed to properly report 187 contributions totaling over $41,000. And that’s not even including over $154,000 that Walker has categorized as “unitemized contributions” – taking advantage of a loophole that doesn’t require him to disclose information about those donors.
Most of this money translates into TV ads for Scott Walker. If you’re in Wisconsin, I’m sure you’ve already seen many of them. A recent ad features a man named Chris Rebholz, identified in the ad simply as “Chris – Business Owner.” In the ad, Chris talks about how great Walker’s policies have been for “small businesses,” but Chris not himself a small business owner. He’s a billionaire and owner of TriStar Products, a corporation that has outsourced many jobs to China. Chris himself sits on a group called the China Business Council, which helps companies manufacture products in China and sell them to the United States.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scott Ross is not pleased by these findings:
“As hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin men, women and children rose up against Walker’s extremism, the governor and his right wing, pro-corporate lackeys labeled them ‘outside agitators,’” said Ross. “Walker’s unprecedented out-of-Wisconsin cash grab should end that phony claim, once and for all.”
We’ll say it again: this recall campaign is not going to be pretty. Since Scott Walker can’t tout his own agenda on jobs, he’s going to turn his gigantic money hose on whoever comes out to run against him. If you’re in Wisconsin, you might just want to go ahead and throw your TV out the window now, because you’re going to see an endless rotation of political ads in favor of Walker, paid for by Texas billionaires and outsourcing businessmen.
Just keep in mind – Scott Walker isn’t so hard to figure out once you know who is paying his bills.