MADISON — Video has surfaced of an exchange back in January of last year between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and a donor that Democrats are calling a “smoking gun” that shows Walker’s strategy for busting up unions. The video shows Walker intended to bust unions using a “divide and conquer” strategy. Republicans say it’s much ado about nothing.
The video shows a conversation between a billionaire donor to the Republican Party and Walker. The conversation was captured by a documentary film crew shortly after Walker was inaugurated as governor.
The donor – Diane Hendicks, has given more than half-a-million dollars to Walker. In the exchange, Hendicks asks Walker if he could make Wisconsin a right-to-work state, meaning that unions can no longer require donors to collect dues. Walker says his first step would be the budget repair bill, and he would use a “divide and conquer” strategy.
The exchange, from the film “As Goes Wisconsin” is as follows…
Hendicks: “Any chance we will ever get to become a Red State and work on these unions, and become a right to work?”
Walker: “Oh yeah.”
Hendicks: “What can we do to help you?”
Walker: “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks, with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we are going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions. Divide and conquer.”
Barrett’s campaign says he believes Walker intends to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state. Phil Walzak with Tom Barrett’s campaign had this to say about the video clip: “It seems like we’ve got a very troubling pattern here from Gov. Walker where in public he says one thing to placate people, but then when he is speaking candidly to billionaire donors or who we think are billionaire donors, he says quite a different thing. Only in those conversations with his wealthy donors does he seem to tell the truth.”
The Walker campaign downplayed the video. In a statement, Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews had this to say: “Governor Walker has made clear repeatedly that he does not have an interest in pushing right-to-work legislation. Governor Walker was elected in 2010 on the promise of closing the $3.6 billion budget defecit left ot him by the Doyle administration without raising taxes, mass layoffs of public employees, cuts to essential services or budget gimmicks and that’s exactly what he did.”
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.