wisconsin capitol
Press Release
July 14, 2015

Is Governor Scott Walker Betting on Support From Right-Wing Casino Magnate With Latest Las Vegas Jaunt?

Trip to ‘Sin City’ Fitting First Campaign Stop for Wisconsin’s Ethically Challenged Scott Walker

MADISON, Wis. — Leaving behind the state of which he is ostensibly still governor, Scott Walker is off in pursuit of his next political ambition, the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. But his first stop after officially announcing his candidacy is not a traditional state such as Iowa or New Hampshire but Las Vegas, Nevada. Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now and Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress, questioned if Walker’s travel is motivated by a desire for the financial backing of right-wing casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Magnus commented, “Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly poured more than $92 million into supporting GOP presidential candidates in 2012, was publicly quoted as saying that as long as the ultra-wealthy could buy elections, he would do it. The question is, has Scott Walker come to Las Vegas to try to seal a dirty deal?”

“Scott Walker is politics incarnate, willing to do or say anything to win an election,” commented One Wisconsin Now’s Ross. “Having been running for elected office most of his adult life he knows he needs money, and lots of it, to satisfy his unslakable thirst for political power. And he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”

Scott Walker’s financial relationship with Las Vegas casino magnate and far right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson began in 2012 when, exploiting a Wisconsin campaign finance loophole, Adelson wrote Walker a $250,000 check for his recall election while family members donated another $30,000. In his 2014 election, Walker was limited to a $10,000 maximum donation from individuals to his campaign. So Adelson wrote a $650,000 check to the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW), and, on the same day it was received, the RPW made a $450,000 contribution to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. Most recently Walker travelled to Israel at Adelson’s behest and on his dime with the Republican Jewish Coalition along with Walker’s “Our American Revival” political group paying for the junket.

Ross noted Walker’s acceptance of huge sums of campaign cash from Adelson encapsulates his willingness to set aside any principle or previously held position in service of his political ambition. In previous elections, Walker bragged he had been, “a leader in reforming the campaign and ethics system,” with his efforts to ban political donations from gambling interests.

Walker’s potential play for the right-wing Adelson’s campaign cash comes amidst national media reports that the Wisconsin governor’s extreme social conservatism is costing him the financial support of more moderate large GOP donors.

“We know one of Sheldon Adelson’s top priorities is lower wages for workers and fewer rights in the workplace and on this front Scott Walker is Adelson’s dream candidate. Wisconsin has the fastest shrinking middle-class in the country and as governor, Walker has eviscerated the pay and rights of workers,” said Magnus

Ross concluded, ”Gov. Walker has shown in Wisconsin that he won’t be constrained by principle or past statements when there’s campaign cash to be grabbed to fuel his political ambitions. What better way for him to kick off his latest campaign than a trip to ‘Sin City’ and the home of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson?”

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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