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Tales From The Fridge: Cronyism

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on September 16, 2010

This is part of an ongoing series to see how true Scott Walker’s claim to having kept all of his 2002 campaign promises really is.

I have to admit, I’m going to enjoy this one.

In 2002, as part of the CRG platform that Scott Walker voluntarily agreed to, one of the promises had to do with cronyism:

Implement a program to eliminate cronyism and nepotism in county government, including a review of all management and supervisory functions under the executive. Within 60 days.

Not only did Walker fail to keep this promise, he flagrantly went in the exact opposite direction.

For some of the names, we will depend on Cory Liebmann, who has already done a fantastic job of pointing out a number of Walker’s cronies, to whom he has given cushy positions to, whether they were qualified or not:

Consider some of the following:

  • Jim Villa worked for Walker’s campaigns bouncing between them and taxpayer financed county jobs.
  • Robert Dennik, a former lobbyist and Walker campaign manager was appointed as head of the now nonexistent Milwaukee County Division of Economic and Community Development. Let’s just say that his time there didn’t go so well for him or for Milwaukee County.
  • Tim Russell has repeatedly bounced back and forth between Walker campaigns and taxpayer funded positions (including a recent promotion). At one point he even took over the train wreck that was the Economic Development job (with not much more success).
  • Walker wanted to give a county job to Chuck Grapentine even though he didn’t even want to move to Milwaukee County. Chuck is the father of a former Walker aide.
  • Cynthia Archer was appointed as head of Administrative Services in 2007. She was previously a top administrator for Walker’s former Republican colleague in the State Assembly, Carol Kelso.
  • David Bradley Carr had not been out of law school very long before Walker replaced a veteran member of the Ethics Board with him. It was reported at the time that a partner at a law firm suggested Carr to Walker. Several partners and members of that same law firm have also been big campaign contributors to Walker. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.

I think the title of a May 9, 2002 MJS story had it right when it said that “Walker has rewards in mind for backers”.

It is worth noting that Tim Russell is currently under investigation for blurring the lines between his roles as county official and campaign staffer.

Added to this list, I would also point out Darlene Wink, who is the Co-Vice Chair of the Milwaukee County Republicans, and until caught politicking from Walker’s office, was his Director of Constituent Services.

There are other names as well, but I am sure that the gentle reader has the idea.

I would also be lax if I omitted mentioning the many contracts that Walker has given out, usually on a no-bid basis, to friends of his campaign. People like Chris Kujawa or Edward Aprahamian to name but two of them.

Tally so far: Five promises made, zero promises kept.

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