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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/11/12

Scott Walker Promised $500K Donor He Would 'Divide and Conquer' Unions

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This article cross-posted from The Nation

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has long denied that he has a secret strategy to destroy public-sector unions as part of a long-term plan to make Wisconsin a "right-to-work" state where unions are dramatically weakened.

But, with the recall election that could replace Walker barely three weeks away, a remarkable videotape of the governor describing just such as a strategy has surfaced. In it, Walker is seen promising a billionaire campaign donor that the attack on collective-bargaining rights for public-sector unions -- which sparked demonstrations and the movement that has forced the recall election -- was only "the first step" in a grand plan.

The billionaire would eventually give Walker more than $500,000 -- the largest donation in Wisconsin history -- to help him advance his agenda. That donation made her the largest single donor to the governor's effort to beat the June 5 recall vote.

The videotape, shot on January 18, 2011, just days after Walker was sworn in as Wisconsin's Republican governor and several weeks before he proposed to use a "budget repair" bill to gut union rights, was released Thursday by the documentary filmmaker who filmed it.

The video is part of a documentary, As Goes Janesville, which will be shown this fall at film festivals and at PBS stations. (Full disclosure: filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein filmed me several times as part of the making of the documentary. I did not, however, know about the Walker footage until he shared it this week with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)

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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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