In film, Walker talks of ‘divide and conquer’ union strategy
This screenshot from Brad Lichtenstein’s video shows Gov. Scott Walker talking to Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who has since given $510,000 to the governor’s campaign – making her Walker’s single-largest donor and the largest known donor to a candidate in state history.
Union manager troubled
In the 2010 campaign, Walker won the support of Operating Engineers Local 139, a union that represents about 9,000 heavy equipment operators in Wisconsin. The union is not endorsing anyone in this year’s recall election.
Terry McGowan, the union’s business manager, said the union gave its 2010 endorsement only after getting assurances Walker would not pursue right-to-work legislation. The union backed Walker because of his support for road building done by the group’s members, McGowan said.
He said Thursday he was troubled by the footage of Walker with Hendricks, but that he was continuing to take Walker at his word given his public statements and conversations he has had with him.
“You don’t hear him say, ‘Yes, I’m going to go after right-to-work legislation,’ ” McGowan said of the video.
But he added that divide and conquer is a phrase that is anathema to those in the labor movement.
“It means turning worker against worker,” he said.
Hendricks, whose net worth Forbes Magazine estimates to be $2.8 billion, has a strong history of supporting conservative causes and Republican candidates. Not including donations to Walker, Hendricks and her husband, Ken, since 1997 have contributed just over $500,000 to political candidates and committees in races ranging from the state Assembly to the presidency, with the overwhelming majority going to Republicans, according to federal data as well as state data compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Between 2009 and 2011, Hendricks gave $19,100 to Walker. That included a $10,000 donation – the maximum at that time for a four-year election cycle – that was made on Feb. 1, 2011, about two weeks after the personal meeting with Walker.
Because Walker faces a recall, a quirk in state law allowed supporters such as Hendricks for a time to donate unlimited sums to the governor’s campaign for certain expenses. Last month, Hendricks contributed $500,000 to Walker, bringing her total donations to him to $519,100 and the donations by her and Ken to all candidates to more than $1 million.
On Feb. 16, 2011 – about one month after her meeting with Walker and five days after the governor unveiled his public union bill – Hendricks’ company, ABC Supply, gave $25,000 to the Republican Governors Association. The association has run ads in support of Walker.
Ben Poston, Bill Glauber and Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this article.
Nothing new here. Walker opponents have been stealing his signals since before the election and still can’t hit the pitch. There’s nothing illegal about this strategy even though it’s sickening to hear it from the horse’s — mouth. And more sickening to hear him telling it to a half million dollar plus political donor.