MADISON, Wis. — As part of his 2013-15 state budget Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a provision directing a $500,000 taxpayer funded grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, a group that endorsed him in his 2012 recall election.
According to news reports, mega-GOP and right-wing cause funder Terry Kohler personally lobbied legislative leaders on the issue including sending a letter dated weeks before the measure was included in the budget in which he urged support for, “a Sporting Heritage Legacy Grant to the United Sportsmen.”
Walker and Kohler have a longstanding relationship. Kohler provided Walker with his personal jet to fly around the state to announce his gubernatorial run in 2009 and Walker is scheduled to appear at a ceremony in October commemorating Kohler’s father and grandfather.
According to news reports, Gov. Walker has now claimed he was unaware the grant was intended for United Sportsmen or that Kohler was lobbying for the measure.
The following are the comments of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross regarding Walker’s incredulous claims of ignorance:
“Gov. Walker’s claims of ignorance about what was happening with this sleazy deal is an insult to the people of Wisconsin who deserve the truth.
“Members of Gov. Walker’s own inner political circle and major players in statewide GOP politics were intimately involved in this affair.
“And remember, as revealed by emails released in connection with the criminal investigation of Gov. Walker’s aides and associates in Milwaukee County, he is a hands on politician, who would go so far as to edit specific wording in headlines on press releases.
“And in the budget, Gov. Walker even issued a technical, partial veto to make sure this grant would go through. And to now claim he had no idea what he had before him, who was behind it and who would benefit is ludicrous.
“It’s far past time for Gov. Walker to truthfully answer the questions about what did he know and when did he know it with his latest, sleazy attempt to reward his friends and allies with our money.”