Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walker Flies Into Another Ethics Problem*

I have been periodically harping about Scott Walker's taxpayer funded campaign bike ride that is due later this month. I questioned how deep Walker's hypocrisy ran to criticize two county supervisors for a non-campaign related trip and claim the county is in a fiscal crisis, only to turn around and spend tax dollars on this trip.

Well, it turns out that there is naught to fear, gentle reader. Scott Walker has removed any ethics concerns about using tax payer dollars for this ride.

Instead, he has flown face first into a greater ethics problem.

Last week, Xoff made mention that Walker now has two sponsors for his bike ride: Air Tran and are going to pick up the tab. Xoff cites a blogpost in the local paper's website on June 11th as the initial source of information.

In his post, Xoff also raises some interesting points and questions such as who gets the naming rights; that Walker's secretary is handling the coordination, but is only using her personal email and phone number; that is a branch of the MMAC; and whether Air Tran and will also be picking up the salaries of Walker and the staffers that will be going along for the ride.

Then he hits closer to home than he realizes with this:
AirTran, incidentally, has just a small business relationship with Milwaukee County, which owns Mitchell Field, where AirTran operates. See any possible ethical conflict there?
Actually it is more than that.

Air Tran was recently attempting to get expanded space at Mitchell Airport. This matter was in front of the Milwaukee County Board's Transit Committee on March 4, 2009. It was approved unanimously (pdf, item #8, top of page 5).

The proposal then was approved by the entire board on March 21st.

Sometime between March 21st and May 21st, when Air Tran announced their expansion at Mitchell International Airport, it had crossed Walker's desk and he signed off on it.

Now, just weeks after Air Tran's announcement of their benefit from their business with the county, it is also announced that they are picking up the tab for Walker's campaign ride.

That little stunt flies in the face of the Milwaukee County Code of Ethics. In fact, from the Milwaukee Code of General Ordinances, section 9.05(2)(a) strictly forbids an elected official to gain from or accept any financial gain or anything else of substantial value for personal benefit or for the benefit of any family member or organization they may belong to. That would include Walker and his governor's campaign.

*And yes, I really, really wanted to title this post "Weasels On A Plane."


  1. What "PERSONAL" benefit are you alleging that he received?

  2. Free room and board and gasoline are personal, aren't they?

  3. No. No they aren't. He's WORKING as the County Exec. He's promoting Milwaukee tourism. That's not personal.

    Or are you saying that he's not supposed to promote Milwaukee tourism with a ride like this?

  4. If he is working as the County Exec, then why did he have the contact information be the private, personal email address of his scheduler and her private, personal phone number.

    If it was County business, it could and should have been done on County email and County phones.

    It isn't county business, and he is NOT doing county business on this trip.

  5. "...then why did he have the contact information be the private, personal email address of his scheduler and her private, personal phone number." Ummm, probably the same reason that he found a corporate sponsor...uh to save tax dollars. (Keep em coming.)

    "It isn't county business, and he is NOT doing county business on this trip." too x infinity plus one :P not only IS county business but it has been for SIX! years!!!!!!

    Six, ut, ut, ahhh! (that was my "Count" impression)

  6. Save us County tax dollars? Oh, really? Heh. Keep reading the new posts.

    But for fun, how many PR agencies do you think would recommend this method for advertising. He got a total of three articles out of 35 stops and thousands of illegal corporate dontations and thousands of tax dollars. Not very cost effective, in my opinion.

  7. I suppose that you'd rather have him do noting so that you could dump on that.

    Your true colors shine very bright in the light of truth.

  8. Actually, the solution is rather simple. Let him fund it with his campaign dollars.

  9. He is funding his campaign with campaign dollars.

    This is obviously NOT his campaign.

    But I get the mudslinging, you are very good at it, If I were as good at it as you, I'd likely do the same, so I don't blame you one bit.

  10. No, Rich, as I pointed out this morning, this was a campaign stunt. His campaign benefited from it, and he used tax payers dollars to do so.

    No mudslinging, unless you consider the truth to be mud.