As I mentioned, a wee fraction of that half a million, only $10,000 of it, went to a PR agency called APCO Worldwide:
I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that he dropped another $10,000 on a public relations firm:It appears that I owe the gentle reader an apology.
Gov. Scott Walker used almost $10,000 of his controversial legal defense fund to pay a public relations bill, according to a quarterly report filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.Note that like one of his high-priced attorneys, the PR firm came out of Illinois. Apparently all the PR firms in Wisconsin were either already involved in Walkergate or wouldn't touch Walker's toxicity for any amount of money.
According to the report, the Scott Walker Trust paid $9,988 for "public relations" on May 15 to Chicago-based APCO Worldwide Inc.
"This doesn't seem to square with what the governor said he needed that money for," said Mike McCabe, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the election watchdog organization that first reported the filing. "He said over and over, he just needed to pay lawyers to help him with the investigation."
Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, said the agency cannot comment on specific expenditures and referred to state law, which says political candidates or officials "investigated for, charged with or convicted of a criminal violation" can create a defense fund "for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate."
Working on a tip, I learned that APCO Worldwide is actually based in Washington, D.C., but Walker worked with their Illinois office. Actually, the firm has more than 600 employees in 29 countries. They also have a special program they call "Crisis360," which is like an emergency damage control team.
As the gentle reader probably already surmised, this firm is no small potatoes.
They are also not without controversy.
APCO Worldwide's specialty is manipulating public opinion and influencing decision-makers in both the private and public sectors. To meet their goal, they will find some "expert" to write supporting pieces, whether it is true or not.
As APCO Worldwide puts it:
APCO Associates, Inc. (APCO) specializes in grassroots organizing and coalition building. We use political campaign tactics to create an environment in support of our client's legislative and regulatory goals...We utilize the most effective, up-to-date technology and campaign tactics to help you achieve your legislative and regulatory goals...APCO has built numerous national and state coalitions on a variety of issues including the environment, science, energy, trade, intellectual property, education, tort reform and health care....APCO applies tactics usually reserved for political campaigns to target audiences and recruit third-party advocates. Our staff has the political field experience and has written the direct mail, managed the telephones, crafted the television commercials and trained the grassroots volunteers. We apply these hard-learned skills and tactics to mobilize hundreds, even thousands, of constituents. Or,when just the "grasstops" are needed, we recruit just a few of a target's key friends or contributors to join us. No matter the issue, we bring together coalitions that are credible, persuasive and cost-effective.The best example of the type of work they do comes from Sourcewatch, and is when they were hired by Phillip Morris to first fight the ruling that second-hand smoke was related to cancer. They also worked with Phillip Morris to work on tort reform, much like the kind passed in Fitzwalkerstan two years ago.
Another example comes from Wikipedia, with all the usual caveats with anything like that:
In 2010, APCO was involved in the controversial recommendation to fire Mark Hurd, the CEO of HP. Kent Jarrell, a senior vice president, wrote a mock news story which he showed to HP's board. During this same meeting, he contemplated that HP would negatively be affected by bad press of its CEO being involved in an inappropriate relationship with an ex-soft porn actress, Jodie FisherNow this firm's services don't come cheap. Sourcewatch cited that they were paid more than $52,000 for arranging for John Hopkins University to author three reports supporting the position of their client. It should be noted that that price tag is for only two out of the three.
Now back to Walker and Walkergate.
But it does make one wonder exactly how they would do this. Was it the line about all the emails and texts being just part of "routine business?" Was it on how to throw Tim Russell under the bus and try to make him the scapegoat? Was it how to dismiss the secret router story? Or was it how to do a perp walk in a dignified manner?