While Gov. Walker Is Away, Legislators Will Play

With Governor’s Office Occupant Out Chasing 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination Wisconsin Legislator Auctions Off Tour of Office

MADISON, Wis. — As Gov. Scott Walker criss-crosses the country auditioning for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination instead of doing the job he was elected to do, fellow Republican legislators are running amok. The latest incident involves GOP Rep. Michael Schraa offering a tour of “off limits” parts of the Capitol, including the Governor’s office, in possible violation of state law.

“It seems Rep.Schraa thinks that if the Governor won’t be using his office that someone should, so he decided to auction off a tour for campaign cash,” said One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “You have to wonder, did Rep. Schraa ask first or was the Governor not around to give his permission?”

Gov. Walker left the state on Thursday for a weekend in New Hampshire. His short work week in Wisconsin comes after a trip to Iowa last weekend and a Tuesday stop in California. He is scheduled to jet off to South Carolina the following week and announcements of more out-of-state trips unrelated to his duties as Wisconsin Governor are being released with increasing frequency.

Rep. Schraa’s auctioning off a tour of the office regularly unoccupied by Gov. Walker violates state law, according to a complaint filed with authorities on Thursday by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. State statutes clearly prohibit public officials from using state property for political fundraising purposes or using their office to obtain an unfair benefit for themselves or an organization with which they are affiliated. State law also prohibits a person in control of an office from allowing it to be used for political fundraising raising questions about Gov. Walker’s culpability in this fundraising scheme.

This would not be Rep. Schraa’s first brush with the legal system. According to state court records, he has a lengthy history legal troubles with numerous lawsuits filed against him for unpaid debts, unpaid taxes and unpaid wages to employees at his failed businesses. Ironically, Schraa now sits on the Joint Committee on Finance, entrusted with making major decisions about the state’s $70 billion biennial budget.

Browne noted that while Walker has regularly auctioned off public policy to special interest and campaign donors, it is unusual that the Governor would allow someone else to sell off access to his office for campaign cash.

He concluded, “You have to admit Governor Walker’s absenteeism is getting bad when other people are offering to give tours of his office. Whether or not he’ll actually be in the state or in his office during the tour at least he’ll be there in spirit as the recipients will have to pony up a donation to the local Republican Party to get access to the governor’s office.”

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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.