wisconsin capitol
Press Release
September 22, 2014

Walker: Where Have We Heard That Before?

Gov. Walker Borrows Liberally From Others With Campaign Slogans to New Laws Written by Corporate Special Interests and Donors

MADISON, Wis. — In his first term in office Gov. Scott Walker signed at least nineteen bills or budget provisions into law that were drawn from corporate bill factory the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He, along with the GOP legislature, also allowed a mining company that donated $700,000 to write large portions of a bill weakening the state’s laws on mining. Now running for re-election Gov. Walker continues “borrowing” from others, using the same campaign catch phrase as 21 other GOP governors and lifting a controversial portion of his jobs plan from a failed experiment in Florida.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Gov. Walker has taken millions of dollars from wealthy and corporate special interests and given them unprecedented access to the levers of power, even allowing them to write portions of or entire bills, and eagerly signing those same bills into law.”

According to the Center for Media and Democracy , in 2011 and 2012 Gov. Walker enacted 19 bills or budget provisions that can be traced to model legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Ross pointed out that former Gov. Tommy Thompson said of ALEC in a 2002 speech, “Myself, I always loved going to these meetings because I always found new ideas. Then I’d take them back to Wisconsin, disguise them a little bit, and declare that ‘It’s mine.’”

In addition, with no apparent concern for irony, a national chair of the corporate legislation factory ALEC, GOP Sen. Leah Vukmir, has called for Gov. Walker’s opponent to quit the race over allegations a former consultant to her campaign re-used language he had previously written for other campaigns.

According to legislative documents , a bill fast-tracked by Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled state legislature to roll back environmental standards for a massive open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin was, extensively modified at the behest of the out-of-state company seeking to open the mine. Gogebic Taconite, which sought the law changes to build a four-mile wide open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin, contributed $700,000 to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, run by a top campaign aide to Gov. Walker’s campaign.

Other instances of Gov. Walker’s borrowing include the “Wisconsin comeback” campaign tagline, a similar version of which is being used by Republicans in over 20 other states, cribbing the blueprint for his failed jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, from GOP governors in Indiana, Texas and Ohio and including a state drug-testing requirement that failed in Florida in his 2014 campaign “jobs” plan.

Ross also noted the curious use of the Walker campaign using the ethics of a consultant to attack their opponent in light of the criminal investigation of how Gov. Walker shared consultants with the allegedly-independent groups in possible violation of Wisconsin law.

“It seems like Gov. Walker’s administration’s ethics are from Richard Nixon, his economic plan from Herbert Hoover and his race relations from Jesse Helms and Jim Crow. The Walker campaign and the right wing noise machine are in full manufactured outrage mode over a consultant re-using his own work because we’re last in the Midwest in jobs over Gov. Walker’s four years and he’s created a budget deficit that could top $4 billion,” concluded Ross.

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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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