David Koch poser gets Wis. Gov. Scott Walker to reveal ploy

wisconsin public employee unions protest

As unions protest in Wisconsin, a phone prankster duped governor Scott Walker into revealing a ploy to deceive Democrats. Image: CC Lost Albatross/Flickr

A pair of right wing billionaires known as the Koch brothers were major backers of Republican Scott Walker, the newly elected Wisconsin governor. Walker, who is trying to bust public employee unions in Wisconsin, was punked by a phone prankster posing as David Koch. In the conversation, Walker was tricked into revealing his strategy to dupe state Democratic senators into a trap disguised as negotiations on the union issue.

How pseudo-Koch duped Scott Walker

Charles and David Koch, brothers with an estimated net worth of $43 billion, are major financial backers of governor Scott Walker. Under the premise of balancing Wisconsin’s budget, Walker wants to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. To keep Walker from achieving those aims, Democrats in Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Senate denied the governor a quorum by going to neighboring Illinois. Tuesday, Ian Murphy of the alternative newspaper Buffalo Beast posed as David Koch and telephoned Walker. Making jokes that included deporting an illegal immigrant maid, Murphy was able to convince a receptionist, the governor’s executive assistant, his chief of staff and the governor himself that he was one of the Koch brothers.

Walker reveals plan to deceive Democrats

Murphy, posing as Koch, talked with Walker for about 20 minutes. Walker, thinking he was talking to Koch, said he wouldn’t negotiate with Democrats about the unions’ collective bargaining rights, but he would trick them into believing he will. Walker said he would tell the Democratic leader of the state assembly he would “talk” if the 14 absent Senate Democrats came along. According to Wisconsin state assembly rules, that would start a session, Republicans would have a quorum, and Walker would get his way. To punish Democratic lawmakers who fled to Illinois, Murphy suggested that Walker bring a baseball bat along. Walker said he has “a slugger with my name on it.”

Why the Koch brothers bought Scott Walker

The Koch brothers are supporting Walker by mobilizing their resources in Wisconsin. Americans for Prosperity, a right wing group bankrolled by the Koch brothers, has launched a $200,000 ad campaign in Wisconsin advocating that Walker strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. The Koch brothers also stand to benefit from a bill in the Wisconsin senate allowing no-bid contracts for the management of state-owned heating, cooling and power plants. The Koch brothers own the three biggest companies in Wisconsin with the resources to perform those services.


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