The controversy surrounding Wisconsin State Sen. Randy Hopper and his girlfriend in Madison has now reached Scott Walker as well. It turns out that Walker helped the woman get a state job, at a time when he was railing against the cost of public employees and claiming that the state was broke.
Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.
Cass previously had worked in the state Senate and for the GOP campaign consulting firm Persuasion Partners in Madison. She also was paid for campaign work for the state Republican Party and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner before that [...]
But who exactly recommended her for the post?
Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the governor, confirmed that it was Keith Gilkes, Walker’s chief of staff. She was then interviewed by the Department of Regulations and Licensing’s executive assistant and deputy and hired by Secretary Dave Ross, a Walker cabinet member.
February 7 was just days before Walker announced his budget repair bill to strip collective bargaining rights and increase pension and health care contributions.
You can read between the lines here. Hopper represents a swing district; he won election by 163 votes in 2008. He was going to have a lot of trouble voting for a bill stripping workers of their rights. He needed some incentive from the Governor. Days before the announcement, Walker’s Administration gets his girlfriend a job. Walker’s spokesman admits that Cass was a late addition to the Walker Administration, which raises the intrigue. Prior to that job, she was… helping Reince Priebus get the position of head of the Republican National Committee. She’s also being paid substantially more than the previous holder of the position – about $12,000 a year extra by the supposedly thrifty Walker Administration.
Daniel Bice also reports that Hopper’s wife plans to donate to his Democratic opponent in the recall.
In other Wisconsin news, as the recall petition-signing and legal battles continue, one group is highlighting the backers of Scott Walker, and urging consumers to stop buying their products. Wisconsin Wave, a civil justice group formed during the protests, is highlighting a different brand every day. Here’s today’s:
Mon., March 21st
Behind Curtain #1 – Georgia Pacific
Mon is recycling day in Maple Bluff, and in light of Gov. Walker’s proposal to eliminate state recycling requirements and state taxpayer support for local recycling programs, citizens are taking advantage of their last chance to dispose of paper, plastic, glass, and metal in a responsible manner with a drop off at the governor’s mansion (99 Cambridge Rd. in Maple Bluff) beginning at 7:00 am. Not surprisingly, one of Gov. Walker’s major corporate donors, the Koch Brothers, spent $21 billion to acquire Georgia Pacific, the nation’s largest paper company, a massive peddler of throwaway products, and global climate change denier. Volunteers will also be on hand at the mansion to provide citizens a list of Georgia Pacific products to avoid at the store.
Other companies and organizations which Wisconsin Wave plans to put under the spotlight include the big box store Menard’s, the trade group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin Tavern League and M&I Bank, which union leaders have been pressuring in recent weeks, getting many of their members to move their money.