Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-It's Never My Fault) has brought austerity to the state, Mississippi sink-to-the-bottom policies, bitter political divisiveness, extremism, anti-worker, anti-woman, crush the poor and disabled policies to Wisconsin. He granted a stingy 1% wage increase to state employees (denied to workers who have still managed to keep their unions) while sucking out 18% of their already low wages. "We're broke", he claimed repeatedly when he rolled out his budgets.
While he was doing that, however, he managed to implant his cronies not just in appointed positions, but embedded many in Civil Service positions with enormous salary increases over their predecessors. He recently hired another of his former Milwaukee County staffers, Cynthia Archer (who was involved in the original John Doe Probe, but kept her mouth shut), to a job she didn't apply for (overlooking the ones who had applied for the job), never interviewed for, with a salary of $113,000 per year (131% higher than the person she replaced).
And today we find out that her salary exceeds the top pay for that position.
It's been a pattern for Walker hiring cronies into big positions along with big, big, big raises. Then again, those big salaries are buying a whole lot of loyalty ... and silence.
Then there was the major remodeling that Tonette Walker did to the Governors Mansion, including a full kitchen remodeling during the "We're Broke" time in 2011 and 2012. No problemo finding the bucks for that either.
And then there's all the "business loans" which aren't tracked, business subsidies that aren't reviewed, and other funny business going on with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private organization Walker set up to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Walker, naturally, appointed himself to head WEDC which has been the subject of much investigation.
Today, we find out about even more lavish Walker spending. He's spent 236% more on his security detail and lavished them with what can only be described as "gifts".
Records show taxpayers spent more than $2.2 million in 2013 for the 10 state troopers who protect Walker and his family, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and dignitaries from other states and countries who visit Wisconsin. That was up from $657,457 paid out by Gov. Jim Doyle on security during his last year in office in 2010.His security detail was already massive before the 2011 protests that Walker caused with his union busting Budget Repair Bill. Frankly, I've never seen one of those self-proclaimed "strong" and "bold" Republicans that wasn't really a chicken-shit at heart.
But that's not been the only factor driving up security costs. Records show that:(bolding is mine)
· Taxpayers have paid some $978,000 to provide security for Walker's home in Wauwatosa — a figure that continues to rise sharply even though his two sons are in college and the governor has said he's spending more nights at the Executive Residence in Maple Bluff.
· Spending on items designated "other expenses" has increased by 716% in the past five years, with the security team receiving annual $600 clothing allowances, being given $975 bulletproof vests and iPads and iPad accessories for all 10 bodyguards and spending money on a safe and car tinting.
· The number of out-of-state trips for which security has accompanied Walker has increased as his national profile rises and he is increasingly seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender. In 2011, he had state-funded security for 29 trips outside Wisconsin, a number that had risen to 47 by 2013.
iPads and iPad accessories? Clothing allowance? I call those "gifts".
And what's the safe for? All the money the Kochs drop off? Kickbacks from his high level staffs from the gi-normous raises he gave them?
Walker explained that the added security was needed because of death threats, but does he think that Jim Doyle, his predecessor didn't get them, too?
Yeah, plenty of money for Walker and pals, but none for the poor, the uninsured, or for his workers. Keep it up, pal. Election day is coming.