DES MOINES — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker touts himself as purveyor of big, bold ideas for the public good in his pursuit of the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker has instead advanced his own political career by pledging allegiance on pet issues for major right-wing funders the Bradley Foundation, run by his gubernatorial campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, and the Koch family foundations of notorious right-wing billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
“Scott Walker is back in Iowa again this weekend to give his poll tested stump speech saying that he’s one of us working for us,” said Ross. “But on issues like public education and the environment the foundations of Scott Walker’s agenda are not us. Instead he’s is shilling for right-wing billionaires and their foundations to advance his own political ambitions.”
Matt Sinovic, Executive Director of Progress Iowa, commented, “As Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker has a truly appalling record. Iowans are pretty sophisticated when it comes to out-of-staters dropping by seeking their votes, and they’ll be taking a hard look at what Scott Walker’s done, not just what he says to them when he’s here.”
As Governor, Walker signed into law the largest cuts to public education in state history. According to a national education funding expert, Wisconsin will slip below the national average when it comes to per pupil funding levels of K-12 public schools. At the same time, Walker has aggressively sought to expand education privatization through a taxpayer funded private school voucher program.
Research by One Wisconsin Now revealed a web of right-wing groups were part of a $31 million plus propaganda campaign pushing this massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort was the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe. And since 2009, based on a review of state campaign finance records, Walker has raked in over $1.4 million in individual contributions to his campaign account from voucher backers.
Public schools aren’t the only thing Walker is willing to sell out on to advance his political ambitions. In 2008 Walker, who was Milwaukee County Executive at the time, signed a pledge promoted by the Koch brothers’ front group the Americans for Prosperity in which he vowed to oppose any efforts to limit global climate change that could impact the bottom line of their business empire. Not coincidentally among Walker’s largest out of state contributors in his 2010 race for Wisconsin Governor was Koch Industries.
Now with dreams of the presidency dancing in his head, Gov. Walker lent his support to state lawsuits designed to stop implementation of rules proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that could crimp the profits of the Koch’s energy industry based empire.
Walker has also actively sought to discourage the development of alternative energy like wind power in Wisconsin. According to an industry group, development of wind energy in Wisconsin came to a halt after Walker became Governor in 2011. And in his latest budget proposal, Walker earmarked budget funds for a wind power study that has been called, “literally a gift to the coal industry.”
Ross commented, “Scott Walker has been running for office for almost his entire adult life and has time and again used one elective office as the stepping stone to the next one. With that history it’s little surprise to find he’s taken up the causes of major funders of the right wing to advance their agenda and quench his unslakable thirst for political power.
“Iowans need to know what Scott Walker has done and for whom he’s doing it. One look at his record on issues like schools and alternative energy raises huge red flags about what Walker is willing to do to the people of his state to get himself ahead politically,” concluded Sinovic.