Jud Lounsbury went into Walker’s most recent campaign finance reports, and gave his findings in The Progressive last week. Lounsbury found that just like we see in Walker’s campaigns and his budgets as Governor, his talk about being frugal and responsible with money is a façade. Scotty has a habit of running up the red ink and hoping to deal with the debts at some later point.
According to the latest SEI (State of Economic Interests), Walker still owes somewhere between $10,000 and $100,000 in high-interest credit card debt and has three conventional bank loans totaling well over $100,000, but he also added a fourth bank loan to his family: A Wells Fargo loan that is defined as being between $5,000 and $50K.This discussion of Scott Walker’s massive indebtedness blends nicely with the now-viral segment John Oliver did on his HBO show this Sunday. One main difference is that Oliver pointed out that often the unpaid debt is the result of medical issues that aren’t covered by insurance, instead of reckless spending and other wasteful behavior (like it is in Walker’s case). Oliver went on note that much of this old debt is eventually sold off as “uncollectable” by banks and other entities, and ends up under the purview of seamy debt collection specialists.
(Oh, and just for fun, I went back and looked at Walker’s previous pre-2014 SEI and—are you sitting down?—he’s had most of this “temporary” debt, including high interest credit card balances, for years now.)
The Walker camp also tried to brush off this debt as being like any other “American family” and “all in all, pretty ordinary stuff." Yes, most Americans get paid about $150K a year, have most of their health care paid for, live rent free in a 30,000 square foot lakefront mansion, don’t have to pay for transportation, utilities, housekeeping or cooking and have round the clock security . . . and STILL find a way to carry a $10K+ high interest credit card balance.
“Fuck you Oprah, I am the new queen of daytime talk!”
Wisconsin even appears in this segment, with a story from Fox 6 in Milwaukee of one woman being bullied by debt collectors, and Oliver also shows Wisconsin as one of four states which loosened regulations in recent years on these types of debt collection businesses. In fact, Walker just signed these loosened regulations 3 months ago, and they’ll take effect on July 1.
Here’s some of that new law will do, and I’ve bolded the parts that specifically come up in Oliver’s segment.
1.Changes terminology from “creditor” to “merchant.” (A merchant is defined to include, among others, a creditor or a seller of property on credit and expressly includes such a creditor’s or seller’s assignee or successor.)Classy, eh? Need I mention that every Republican in the State Legislature voted for this crap except for 3 members of the Assembly (James Edming and the retiring Dave Heaton, Jessie Rodriguez did not vote)? I'll also give a special mention to State Rep. Steve Doyle for being the only Dem to support this garbage when it hit the Assembly floor last November.
2.The merchant must identify the actual or estimated amount alleged to be due to the merchant on a date certain after the customer’s default, and include a breakdown of all charges, interest, and payments occurring after this date. In the case of an open-end credit plan, the amount must be reflected in a billing statement addressed to the customer.
3. Clarifies that for a claim arising under an open-end credit plan, the merchant’s obligation to provide evidence of the debt can be satisfied if he has provided the billing statement reflecting the total outstanding balance. The bill strikes the requirement to provide evidence of transactions.
4.Clarifies that the merchant’s failure to comply with these requirements related to pleading and providing copies precludes entry of default judgment, rather than [any] judgment, for the merchant.
5.Adds that a complaint which fails to comply with the new pleading requirements is not a violation that gives rise to a penalty, civil liability, or an award of attorney fees unless the consumer proves that the failure was willful or intentional.
In addition to writing off nearly $15 million in debt and exposing the scumminess of the business, John Oliver’s segment also succeeded set a light bulb off over my head over how we can help our indebted governor. Given that Scotty never seems to be able to have an unscripted moment in front of a crowd of everyday Wisconsinites (his “listening sessions” are rarely pre-announced and are almost always invite-only), maybe what everyday Wisconsinites can do is form a debt collection company. Then they can buy up Walker’s massive credit card and bank debt, and get his personal information.
Then ring him up, and you can finally get the Governor (whose 6-figure salary we pay for) on the line to let him know how things are going outside of the WisGOP Bubble. Although in fairness, saying you’re a large check-writer will increase the chances to have Walker be honest with you as a "constituent."