With a shout out to Jake, who already did a darn fine job on the story himself, the gist of the story is that Scott Walker, who has been repeatedly telling us that the state is "broke" and can't afford things (like paying a sustainable wage; providing care for the poor, the disabled or the elderly; protecting our ecology; or creating jobs, to name just a few things), can somehow afford to pay a private law firm a half million dollars to defend his union busting law.
And I can guarantee you that that is only the first half million. Given his track record as Milwaukee County Executive, he will keep racking up the bill, most likely without informing the legislature until it's another fiscal crisis.
The key point is he signed the contract for the high priced ($300/hour) law firm four days before he even introduced the bill! Walker knew it was going to be challenged and that it didn't pass muster, but he took our tax dollars that could've supported working class families and provided aid to those in need, and chose to willfully squander them on this poorly-if-at-all thought out plan. You think for that kind of money, he would have at least given them time to look at it and determine if it would even survive a challenge. But then again, forethought has never been one of Walker's strong suits.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
From Madison.com, Jake's source, we see this tidbit:
Signing the contract for Michael Best & Friedrich was attorney Raymond Taffora, a month after he left his job with the state attorney general's office, which usually represents the state on legal challenges.And as Jake pointed out, the Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, received thousands of dollars from Traffora, while he was an employee of Van Hollen's. On top of that, Walker received $37,000 from the law firm.
Right there you have the epitome of corruption AND cronyism.
But to put the cherry on this garbage sundae is their official excuse why they're dropping all this money (emphasis mine):
Correspondence shows the governor on Feb. 4 requested legal assistance from the attorney general's office in anticipation of litigation on the bill. The office declined, citing a lack of sufficient non-union staff with the necessary expertise. It recommended that the governor appoint special counsel.There are two points to take away from that one line:
- Van Hollen doesn't trust his staff, especially the represented workers, and
- The people that Van Hollen does trust (read: control) aren't up to the job he hired them for.
Of course, these excuses are probably bogus and a false front and mere contrivance to justify their corrupt pay-for-play with a couple of campaign donors.
At the rate he is going, Walker would be better off just stepping down or hoping to be recalled. Otherwise, when the people take the government back from the special corporate interests, he will be wishing he had all that money to defend himself from impeachment and corruption charges.