Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia has raised serious concerns about the truthfulness of Gov. Walker’s testimony under oath before a congressional committee.
The controversy centers on two pieces of videotape. The first is from April 14th, 2011. Walker was asked to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about his budget.
Walker was asked by Congresman Connolly: “Have you ever had a conversation with respect to your actions in Wisconsin in using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base?” Walker’s response was “no.”
Two weeks ago, video surfaced that was recorded three months prior to Walker’s congressional testimony as part of a documentary called “As Goes Janesville.” Walker speaks to a billionaire businesswoman, and the largest single donor to his campaign, Diane Hendricks.
The exchange was recorded as follows:
Diane Hendricks: “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions?”
Walker: “Oh, yeah.”
Hendricks: “And become a right-to-work? 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’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”
Three Democratic congressmen sent Monday, May 21st, a letter to the chairman of the House Oversight Committee asking for clarification of the statements Walker made before the congressional committee, and the statements that appear in the "As Goes Janesville" documentary.
"I think the fact that they've sent it to (the media) before I've even seen it says it's a political issue," Walker said Tuesday.
The three congressmen who sent the letter see it as a fundamental issue of honesty. That's a sentiment shared by two of the top Democrats in the state -- candidate for governor Tom Barrett and former Senator Russ Feingold, who endorsed Barrett Tuesday.
"People know there's something wrong, and it has to do with the fact that we've lost these jobs. It has to do with all of these questions that are swirling around having to do with ethics, and having to do with integrity in government, and having to do with honesty. Those are issues that matter to people who live in this state," Barrett said.
"The governor has a severe problem with the truth, whether it be the way he's handling this investigation, whether it be the jobs numbers, the whole routine he had that somehow, this attack on the working people of this state was a budgetary matter, along with the budget. He has a very bad relationship with the truth overall," Feingold said.
"The facts are the facts and I challenge anybody to look at what we have talked about - how you can take a sample of 3.5% of all the employers and call that an accurate sample, and not say that when you look at every economist out there that I've seen in any of your stories, even one that gave money to Tom Barrett, has acknowledged that our numbers, when it comes to jobs, are the most valid," Walker said.
Feingold says the truthfulness of each candidate will be the top issue in this campaign.