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General News    H2'ed 5/26/12

House Members Seek Answers From Scott Walker Amid New Evidence of Lying to Congress

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  1. Do you dispute that you met with Diane Hendricks, one of your top donors, on January 18, 2011?

  2. Do you dispute that, in response to a question from Ms. Hendricks about whether Wisconsin could become "a completely red state," you responded "Oh, yeah," and that your "first step" as Governor would be to "deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions" in order to "divide and conquer"?

  3. In light of your answers to these questions, do you now wish to withdraw your sworn testimony before the Committee in which you asserted that you never "had a conversation with respect to your actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base"?

"In the interview with your local Fox affiliate, you stated that 'the facts are the facts.' We agree, and in this instance, the facts were captured on videotape.

"It is critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from witnesses who testify before the Committee in order to help inform our policy decisions. Your videotaped conversation with Ms. Hendricks not only raises serious concerns about the accuracy of your testimony before the Committee, but it undermines the entire rationale put forward for your unprecedented campaign against public sector workers.

"We look forward to receiving your responses to our questions."

This demand may not be the last of the Congressional concerns about whether Walker lied to the committee.

When he testified in April 2011, Walker told the committee that he launched his assault on collective-bargaining rights for public employees and teachers in response to moves by public-sector unions. The governor volunteered that "in December, after the elections but before I was sworn into office, the public sector unions and the state rushed to the lame-duck session Legislature and to the Governor and tried to pass through contracts that would have locked us into a dire financial situation."

Around the same time, in a media interview, Walker said, "We don't have a specific plan yet" for dealing with the unions.

Now, however, drafting documents obtained by a Madison radio station, WTDY, have revealed that Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau was asked to begin drafting Walker's anti-labor legislation in November, weeks before the legislative session Walker described to Congress. Cathlene Hanaman, the Deputy Chief at the Legislative Reference Bureau, has confirmed that she was assigned in November to draft the legislation. In addition, while the governor claimed he was forced to act against the unions because of a budget emergency, it has now been confirmed that Department of Administration budget specialists were working on the project in December.

In other words, neither the timeline nor the circumstances that Walker described to the Congressional committee appear to have been accurate.

"There are serious questions about the governor's testimony that need to be answered," says Connolly, the Virginia congressman who questioned Walker when he appeared before the Oversight Committee and who now is asking the governor to explain the contradictions in his testimony.

"My issue here is that people tell the truth, especially when they're under oath before a Congressional committee, and before anybody casts a vote in this pending recall election, they're entitled to know if the two candidates are telling the truth. In this case, this is under oath," says Connolly. "This isn't a pass-off statement at a press conference. This is prepared testimony and answers to questions in a Congressional hearing under oath."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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