I am talking about the infamous phone call Governor Walker took from who he thought was David Koch, right after the "Wisconsin 14" had fled the state and crowds continued to grow at the Capitol to protest Walker's union-busting bill. You can go over the transcript here, or you can give it a listen.
I've gone over the call before, but in light of the Walkerdocs, I want to shed some new light on this, as there are a few items that are more into focus 3 years later.
First of all, remember that the guy who let "David Koch" (in reality talk show host Ian Murphy) through was Keith Gilkes, who was Walker's chief of staff at the time, with the first point of contact being scheduler Dorothy Moore, who is also mentioned in the Rindfleisch emails. Murphy recounted how it happened in an interview soon after the phone call
The first call [was] answered by a male secretary. He knew the name David Koch. He transferred me over to Executive Assistant [to the] Governor Dorothy Moore. She told me my name sounded familiar and asked me to please call back.The lack of checking and racist humor is an insight into the type of clowns that Walker hired when he took office, and has continued to hire. Gilkes was Walker's campaign manager, and said information relating to a possible lawsuit over a death at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Center "should be buried" until after the November 2010 election. Gilkes also allegedly was the person who set up a separate conference line for the "inner circle" to discuss election plans while Walker and his staff were on the Milwaukee County taxpayer's dime, and Gilkes was memorably quoted in another email as demanding of Walker's staff that "there is not a paper anywhere that details a problem at all" after a teen was killed by falling concrete from a County parking garage in Summer 2010....even though Gilkes had no official County job at the time.
I called back and spoke to Keith Gilkes, Walker’s chief of staff. He was expecting me to call. He was thrilled to talk to me. I told him I had to talk to Scott.
He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. One problem was that I was using Skype. So I told them my maid Maria washed my cell phone. I would’ve had her deported, I said, but she works for close to nothing. Gilkes thought this was funny.
He checked the governor’s schedule and told me to call back at 2 pm. And I did and I got through to the governor. With pranks, you have to tip your hand a little. I tipped my hand with the maid, so they kind of deserved it.
Why would Walker hire such a scumbag for this important job? This part of the Koch call can help explain it.
WALKER: An interesting idea that was brought up to me this morning by my Chief of Staff [Keith Gilkes], we won’t do it until tomorrow is putting out an appeal to the democrat leader that I would be willing to sit down to talk to him, the Assembly Democrat [sic] leader, plus the other two republican leaders. Talk, not negotiate, and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn, I’ll only do it if all 14 of them come back and sit down in the state assembly, they can recess it to come back and talk to me but they have to come back there. The reason for that is we’re verifying it this afternoon, but legally we believe once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they actually in session that day and they take a recess, the 19 senate republicans could then go into action and they’d have a quorum because they started out that way. We’re double checking that but that would be the only if you heard that I was talking to them, that would be the only reason why we would only do it if they came back to the capitol with all 14 of them. And my sense is, hell, I’ll talk to them—you want to yell at me for an hour, I’m used to that. I can deal with that but I’m not negotiating.Yep, Scotty wants to double-cross the state senators, and then sneak the bill through that way. Oh, and then he talks himself up by bragging about his "Slugger". Which is later followed by this infamous exchange.
KOCH: Bring a baseball bat. that’s what I would do.
WALKER: Have one in my office here. You’d be happy with that. I’ve got a slugger with my name on it.
KOCH: Right, right. We’ll back you anyway we can. But uh, what we’re thinking about the crowds was, a, was planting some troublemakers.In addition to Walker being dead wrong about popular sentiment (people were actually heartened as the protests went on and more info came out), the fact that he and his staff would consider planting troublemakers to cause a potential riot shows how amoral they really are. When you realize that, it's not all that shocking that they'd be cool with the racial and anti-Semitic emails that were part of the Rindfleisch data drop, or that key members of the team would be so callous to say "No one cares about crazy people." THESE ARE THE TYPES OF RATFUCKING LOWLIFES WHO WALKER APPROVES OF AND HAS THINGS IN COMMON WITH.
WALKER: You know, the well [sighs] the only problem with – because we thought about that. The problem with, my only gut reaction to that would be right now the, the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this, uh the teacher’s union did some polling of some focus groups I think and found out the public turned on them the minute they closed school down for a couple of days. The guys we got left are largely from out of state and I keep dismissing it in all my press conferences and saying uhh, they’re mostly from out of state. My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking that maybe the governor has got to settle to avoid all these problems.
The Rindfleisch emails are part of John Doe 1, which resulted in 5 of Walker's current and former staffers to be convicted, and discoveries from John Doe 1 led to John Doe Deux. That investigation is ongoing and involves illegal coordination between GOP campaigns (including Walker's 2012 recall election) and "independent" third-party groups many of which have ties to the Koch Brothers. Walker certainly knew in 2011 that this type of coordination with outside parties was illegal, because he told "David Koch" that he was trying to bust Democrats on the same statute.
WALKER: ...one of the things we’re looking at next probably announce in the next day or two, we’ve been working with our Republican leaders in the legislature, we’re still waiting on an opinion to see if the unions have been paying to put these guys up outta the state, we think there’s at a minimum an ethics code violation if not an outright felony....So Scotty knows that this type of favoritism is illegal. Now watch what he says a couple of minutes later.
Well, people can pay protestors to come in, that’s not an ethics thing, but literally if the unions are paying the 14 senators, if they’re paying for their food, their lodging, anything like that, we believe at a minimum it’s an ethics code violation, and it may very well be a felony misconduct in office because see technically, it’s not just a political contribution. If they’re being paid to keep them from doing their job, we think that’s a, you know, legally an obstruction of justice, but an obstruction of their ability to their job and we still got the attorney general’s office who is looking into it for us.
WALKER: The other thing is more long term and that is after this, um, you know, the coming days and weeks and months ahead, particularly in some of these more swing areas, a lot of these guys are gonna need, they don’t necessarily need ads for them but they‘re going to need a message out reinforcing why this was a good thing to do for the economy a good thing to do for the state so the extent that message is out over and over again, that’s obviously, that’s obviously a good thing.
One year after the fake Koch call, the actual David Koch admitted he was giving big bucks to Walker.
"We're helping him, as we should. We've gotten pretty good at this over the years," he says. "We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more."This was done in several ways (and John Doe Deux is finding more), but it was most prominent through Koch front group Americans for Prosperity holding pro-Walker rallies statewide, running a series of ads titled "It's Working" that claimed Wisconsin was on a pathway to success due to Walker's changes, and AFP/Koch shelled out millions in other ads and "education sessions" over the next 16 months.
As a last note, in a crazy example of "art foreshadowing life", is the way the Koch call ended.
KOCH: Ha, ha, ha. Well, I’ll tell you what Scott once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.Turns out it was a lot more than a million that got Walker over in the recall election of 2012, as the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimated outside groups spent $22 million propping up Walker in that election. And Walker has since made numerous out-of-state trips to raise both campaign funds and his national profile. This includes a $25,000-a-person California golf outing for the Republican Governor's Association last May, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on private jets to fly him out to meet oligarchs around the country.
WALKER: All right that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us to move the cause forward. And we appreciate it and we’re uh, doing it, the just and right thing for the right reason and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.
KOCH: Absolutely and you know we have a little bit of vested interest as well. Ha, ha.
WALKER: Well, that’s just it. The bottom line is we’re going to get the world moving here because it’s the right thing to do.
KOCH: All right then.
WALKER: Well, thanks a million.
I know some people like to think the Koch call is old news and that we should concentrate on things to come. But there are a lot of clues in that call that explain what followed, and how this governor and his underlings continue to do things. It's often said that character is what is shown when people aren't looking, and the way Scott Walker's corrupt and amoral character shone through time and time again in the Koch call gives a whole lot of insight to what this guy is about today.