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Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 21, 2012
Walker Releases New Jobs Numbers and Cuts New Ad
On May 16, 2012, Governor Scott Walker released new jobs numbers; ones that indicate Wisconsin gained jobs in the last year rather than suffering the worst jobs loses in the nation as had been previously reported. The new numbers are based on a different metric, not the metric used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The governor's office has traditionally relied on BLS to measure job performance, but went data shopping when the BLS numbers started ranking Wisconsin's job performance the worst in the nation. The Walker administration released the new numbers the day before the BLS was anticipated to release its April numbers, and indeed the BLS report once again put Wisconsin dead last in the nation a loss of 21,400 between April of 2011 and April of 2012. Wisconsin lost 6,000 jobs in April alone.
As for 2012, the only available data shows losses for each month of 2012, but Walker's new ad implies a 10,000 job gain during that period. The ad says the new numbers were "bad news for Barrett, but good news for Wisconsin." Walker is running against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election scheduled for June 5, 2012.
Barrett Criticizes Walker for New Jobs Numbers, "John Doe" Criminal Probe
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett fired back on Walker's new jobs numbers with an ad of his own, questioning the integrity of Walker's new numbers and criticizing Walker for not being transparent with the public about his conversation with the Milwaukee County District Attorney surrounding the secret "John Doe" criminal probe of Walker's former staff and associates. The ad focuses on the charges that have been brought against former Walker aides and associates for doing campaign work on the taxpayer's dime, and for embezzlement of veteran's funds during the time Walker served as Milwaukee County Executive. The ad points out that Walker has a criminal defense fund, but has not told the people of Wisconsin what his conversations with the DA have been about. The ad ends with "doesn't Wisconsin deserve the truth, before the election?" The probe has already netted 15 felony indictments; Walker's former staff and appointees have yet to be tried.
GAB Memos Suggest that Walker May Be Target of "John Doe" Criminal Probe
Newly released memos from Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB) obtained by Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach and released by the Democratic Party over the weekend indicate that Governor Scott Walker and/or his agents are under criminal investigation for violating campaign finance or elections laws. Walker has admitted to having a criminal defense fund, and has made payments to the "Scott Walker Trust" from his campaign account. The memos released over the weekend affirm the fact that elected officials can only establish a criminal defense fund if they, or their agent, are "under investigation for, charged with, or convicted of a criminal violation of Chapter 11 of the statues, which establishes campaign finance and election laws" or Chapter 12 of the statutes, "which prohibits election threats, election bribery or election fraud." Walker announced he was starting a criminal defense fund in March 2012.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Endorses Walker, Ignores its Own Reporting
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorsed Governor Scott Walker in the gubernatorial recall election on Sunday, May 20. The paper's editorial board endorsed Walker in 2010 as well. The headline read: "We Recommend Walker; His Removal Isn't Justified." The endorsement by the editorial board ignores the paper's own investigative reporting. For instance, the paper backs Walker's theory that the dismal job situation is due to "political turmoil" in the state and not due to Walker's policies, when the paper itself first published the chart showing jobs dropping off a cliff in July 2011, the month Walker's austerity budget kicked in. The drop-off reversed a six month positive trend under the former governor. More surprisingly, the paper's editorial board discounts the John Doe criminal probe being run out of the Milwaukee DA's office and says there is "no evidence" that Walker is involved. The paper's award-winning reporters have been the leaders in uncovering news about this secret John Doe investigation. Over the weekend the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's news desk reported (again) that state law does not allow for politicians to start criminal defense funds unless they or their agents are targets of an investigation, another story ignored by the editorial board.
Repeal of Wisconsin Equal Pay Law May Harm Veterans More than Women
Headlines around the country indicated that Governor Scott Walker was helping to wage a "War on Women" when he signed into law a bill that rolled back the rights of women, minorities and other protected groups, to sue in state court over wage discrimination in the workplace. As it turns out, one of the communities most adversely affected by the repeal of this law is veterans. According to an article in the La Crosse Tribune, the repeal of parts of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act disproportionately affects veterans because they, unlike other protected groups, are not able to sue for punitive damages in federal court. Michael Gourlie, a member of the Wisconsin Association of Concerned Veterans Organizations executive board and Wisconsin's Council on Veterans Programs told the Tribune that: "Veterans were viewed, unfortunately, as collateral damage by small business, the Legislature and the governor in order to get that law through."
The Center for Media and Democracy does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office. Since 1993, CMD has been reporting on corporate spin and government propaganda, exposing public relations tactics, and debunking PR campaigns.