The call made by a Buffalo blogger pretending to be billionaire right-wing activist David Koch to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is quickly making an impact on the news cycle. (You can listen to the call on YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2.)
Walker is extremely frank with the man he believes to be an important financial supporter, both of his own campaign and right-wing causes. Below are the six most important revelations we learn from listening to the Governor speak his mind.
1. Walker and the Senate Republicans are conspiring to withhold Democratic lawmakers' paychecks.
A minute into the call, Governor Walker describes a plan by the Senate Majority Leader to institute a new rule that would stop automatic deductions of lawmakers' paychecks if they do not appear in the Senate for more than two days. It would require lawmakers to appear in person to collect their checks.
Walker describes this as part of a plan he is working on with GOP Senators: "Each day, we're going to rachet this up a little bit."
2. Walker sees billionaire David Koch as "one of us."
Two and a half minutes in, Walker is describing a conversation he had with a Democratic state lawmaker, Tim Cullen, who Walker says is the "only reasonable" one among the Democrats. When the man pretending to be Koch suggests he calls Cullen, Walker says that although Cullen is reasonable, he is not "one of us." Who is the "us" that includes Walker and out-of-state billionaire Koch, but not an elected state legislator?
3. Walker is planning to threaten state workers with layoffs.
Five minutes into the call, Governor Walker says he is planning to issue between 5,000 and 6,000 "risk notices" to state workers announcing that they are at risk of being laid off. He makes this statement in the context of what he is planning to do to put pressure on Democrats to cave into his demands, not what is necessary due to the budget crunch. "If they want to start sacrificing thousands of public workers to be laid off," he says, "sooner or later there's gonna be pressure on Senators to come back. We're not going to compromise."
4. Walker has a plan to lie to Senate Democrats and pass the bill while they are not aware of the vote.
Seven minutes in, Walker describes a plan created by his chief of staff to call Senate Democrats back to "hear what they have to say." While he is discussing the issues with the Democrats, the Senate would be in recess. In actuality, once Democrats come back to the state assembly, Republicans would be able to pass the bill eliminating collective bargaining rights while Walker is in discussions with Democrats.
5. Walker considered planting fake protesters to cause trouble among the real protesters.
Fourteen and a half minutes in, the fake David Koch says that they are considering "planing some troublemakers" among the crowd of protesters. Walker responds with, "we thought about that." He expresses no moral objection to the plan, but says that he thinks it is the wrong strategy, because a "ruckus" would make people think he should compromise.
6. Walker is corrupt.
Although early in Walker says they are investigating the Democratic Senators to see if they are committing ethics violations by accepting union funds, when the fake David Koch says he will fly Walker "out to Cali and really show you a good time," Walker responds by saying "that would be outstanding."