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Walker’s Bike Ride Was A Political Stunt

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on July 22, 2010

From Milwaukee County First:

An editorial appeared today in the Green Bay Gazette, calling out Scott Walker for his phony tourism bike ride and pointing it out as a campaign event:

Walker deflected similar criticism in 2005 when state ethics and elections officials — following inquiries by the Green Bay Press-Gazette — said Walker had not violated any campaign rules when he distributed promotional goodies to journalists and fielded their questions about his candidacy for governor along the tour. Back then, Walker’s office disclosed that the event cost Milwaukee taxpayers $2,676, and that about 1,200 free tickets were distributed to 25 media outlets and businesses on the five-day ride.

The Press-Gazette immediately returned our promotional packet to Walker, and questioned him about the governor’s race when he rode into town. Walker’s entire giveaway in 2005 contained nearly $10,000 worth of free tickets to popular Milwaukee area tourist attractions. If that’s not considered a violation of state ethics rules, we cannot see how the state Government Accountability Board (the entity that replaced the state ethics and elections boards) would find Walker in violation of state campaign laws this time around.

The state’s Democratic Party says on its website that its complaint alleges Walker’s campaign “failed to report as a contribution the support the motorcycle tour received from AirTran Airlines, whose executives accompanied Walker on the trip.” The group also says its complaint includes video footage of a Milwaukee County department head unfurling corporate banners at various parking lots.


Still, something is amiss with the system when a candidate for the state’s top office can ride a Harley all over Wisconsin legally on taxpayer money, in an election year, and attract free publicity at every stop.

Heather Schallock, news director at WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, said news media in rural areas get very few opportunities to question candidates for statewide office. When interviewed by the Press-Gazette five years ago, Schallock said of Walker, “He may not have mentioned it, but we’re not going to be stupid and not mention that he’s running for governor.”

They weren’t stupid. It can be argued in this case, neither is Walker.

Perhaps it’s time for the Milwaukee County Ethics Board to reopen the complaints filed against him regarding this ride, and finally admit that it was political in nature and not something that the tax payers should be footing the bill for.

Scott Walker needs to return the tax dollars that he used for this ride, including the overly generous salaries that he gave to his campaign workers/top aides.  Furthermore, he owes Milwaukee County tax payers an apology.


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