Walker Broke Campaign Pension Promise

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who forced public workers to pay more for their pensions as part of a push to curb union rights, broke his campaign promise to pay the full cost of his state pension immediately after taking office in January.

The Associated Press requested copies of the governor’s pay stubs to see if he had fulfilled the campaign promise he made in June 2010. Walker said then he would begin paying the cost immediately in order to lead by example since he was proposing all state employees do the same.

“As governor, I’ll pay my share toward my retirement because everyone should pay their own way, including me,” Walker said during the campaign.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch made the same pledge and also didn’t pay as promised.

Walker’s pay stubs provided Friday in response to the AP’s open records request made in September had details about his pension payments redacted. But Walker’s spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor did not start paying the full cost until August, when the state law he pushed required elected officials and other state employees to contribute more.

The requirement that state workers pay their 5.8 percent contribution was part of Walker’s bill that also took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The fight over that measure resulted in protests as large as 100,000 people, led to all 14 Democratic state senators fleeing to Illinois to block the bill, and made Wisconsin the center of the fight over union rights.

If Walker had fulfilled his campaign promise, he would have been paying his pension costs during that fight in February and March.

Werwie did not have an explanation for why Walker didn’t pay until the law forced him to. The law required Walker and other elected officials to make payments of 6.65 percent of their salary starting in August. That goes up to 7.05 next year.

Over four years, that will result in Walker paying $34,108.

“Ultimately, we feel like we’re fulfilling what our campaign pledge was,” Werwie said.

But Walker didn’t pay anything between January and August when the law kicked in. When asked how he could say the promise was fulfilled given that lack of payment for seven months, Werwie said, “that’s a fair point to raise.”

Had the governor paid 6.65 percent of his salary during that time, it would have cost him $5,600.

Democrats were beside themselves.

“You’re asking people to do what you won’t do,” Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said. “It shows you this is a person whose priorities are warped.”

Democrats, unions and others plan to start collecting signatures in November to force a recall election of Walker next year.

“It is indefensible Scott Walker promised to live by these rules and then broke his word to Wisconsin,” said Scot Ross, head of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now. “Scott Walker tore Wisconsin in two to pass these unnecessary changes and then tells us `Do as I say, not as I didn’t.”‘

This isn’t the first time Walker has run into trouble fulfilling promises related to his pension.

Immediately after winning election as Milwaukee County executive in 2002, Walker promised that any staff under his control would waive all salary and benefit increases enacted after 2000. But his opponent in 2004 revealed that Walker’s staff had been taking a higher pension benefit for two years. Walker then asked the county board to reduce it.

Walker also promised to return $60,000 of his $130,000 annual salary as county executive, which he did every year until winning re-election in 2008 when he dropped it to $10,000 a year. Democrats said that amounted to a broken promise, but when Walker made his original pledge he never said how many years he would return $60,000 annually.

Walker also collected pension benefits based on his higher salary for two years before having it calculated based on the lower amount.

Kleefisch also promised during the campaign to pay her full pension cost, but she didn’t start paying until August either.

“Just like Scott Walker, I’ll pay my share of my pension, because everyone should pay their own way including me,” Kleefisch told a tea party group in September 2010.

Her chief of staff Jeanne Tarantino did not explain in an email why Kleefisch didn’t make the contribution starting in January as promised.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Kevin

    Gee, what a suprise. A GOP liar, who is owned by the kochs.

    • Bruce

      Kind of like the Dems and their benefactor George Soros. Of course, it’s OK when your side does it, right?

      • Paul Solinger

        No, actually, it’s nothing like that. But thanks for playing.

      • Tom

        @ Bruce

        That is because the GOP make it sound like that because they are conservatives they play the rules! LIke we have always said conservatives are the biggest hyprocrits!

        And the other difference look at candidates that Koch Brothers have backed not the brightest bulbs on the tree. And yes some of them have won, and that shows you the intelligence level of the voters who have voted for them, and that also goes for the people who voted for those who lost!

  • Walker is a Fraud

    Republicans are the biggest hypocrits in the world….even bigger than the Democrats. No wonder people think so little of politicians…..liars & thieves all of them

    • Just Saying

      Q: What do you get when you offer a Liberal a penny for his thoughts?
      A: Change.

      Q: How do you confuse a Liberal?
      A: You don’t. They’re born that way.

      Q: Why is it good to have a Democrat passenger?
      A: You can park in the handicap zone.

      Q: What’s the difference between Elvis and a smart Liberal?
      A: Elvis has been sighted.

      • kevin

        Your vag smells funny.

      • Tom

        @ Just Saying

        Q: What do you get when you offer a conservative a penny for his or her thoughts?
        A: Nothing because they have no thoughts!

        Q: How do you confuse a Conservative?
        A: You ask them a common sense question!

        Q: Why is it good to have a conservative passenger?
        A: They always provide you with a good laugh when they start talking non-sense.

        Q: What’s the difference between a Bellevue patient and a social conservative?
        A: The Bellevue patient knows he or she is nuts and delusional and needs to be medicated. While the social conservative is in denial!

  • zippy

    All repukes suk.

  • Murph

    Walker should be tarred and feathered as well! The little weasel!

  • dirty

    republican filth.

  • Lonnie Jensen

    Typical Rebublican. Speak with your fork tongue. Stick it to the poor and middle class. What a phony you are Scott Walker !!!

  • Give me liberty

    Did any of the posters even read the article or are they just commenting on the headline? Or maybe they can’t read, we know they can’t spell.

    What a hatchet job. He is fulfilling his pledge, there was just a delay in starting his contributions.

    Shame on WCCO. Shame on liberals. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story right?

    • Waiting for the recall

      Walker promised to pay the full cost of his state pension immediately after taking office in January. In reality, Walker didn’t pay anything between January and August when the law kicked in. Clearly, he did not fulfill his pledge to start paying in January.

    • hard rains

      Of course that saved him $5600 too. Or didn’t you notice that.

    • Kevin

      Oh I see, uh huh.

  • zippy

    Look at the picture of him above. Notice the emptiness in the eyes and face?

  • Pot Stirring Fool

    Here’s what I don’t get. In the private sector, it is rare to have a pension anymore these days. Why don’t public employees understand that some benefits are not an entitlement?? Hell, you’re lucky if you still have an employer match to your retirement accounts these days.

    While I don’t agree with the politics involved in this decision, or in stripping away the bargaining rights, I do have to question the motives behind some of the union demands. It’s all or nothing – they’re just as bad as the politicians!!

    • Reality sucks

      I hear ya Pot Stirring Fool. Municipalities are tanking, Municipal bonds are tanking and Pension Insurers are bailing. Pensions are a dead concept. And the sad part is, it’s dying right now and all the sorry folks paying into them or holding them and living on them best pray they will continue to have them. Give your cash to the government and watch it disappear. Junk bonds and junk pensions is what they are. We will be seeing lots of headlines coming soon.

      • frozenrunner

        Pensions, like social security is based the notion that any fool can invest money and it will grow. The company or country will keep expanding and money will flow. What Pot doesn’t realize, and I would assume you too, is that you fail to realize that pensions are a negotiated benefit. People took pension plan over cash because they are, and were, unable to save on their own. Got a buck, spend it. Yet the public employee is blasted as being greedy. If the people blasting public employees as greedy than they should be all for the occupy wall street gang. Such is not the case. 102 million for Steven Helmsley. In one way or another we all pay for that. Whoever has his insurance plan sells something you buy so you are paying for it. Yet people complain about the greedy public employee, care not that in the end, the CEO cost them more cash.

        • Reality sucks

          I guess you can make that argument but the real problem with pensions is the same as social security. There are 10,000 boomers retiring everyday. There are not enough payers in the declining workforce to keep up with the outflow of pension payments. Cities/States, like St. Paul and MN, are being asked to take over the funds and the tax payer is being taxed to compensate for the shortage. It’s happening everywhere.

          • Citizen

            @Reality. The REAL problem with pensions is that workers are very INCONVENIENTLY living long enough to collect them–in the eyes of the corporations. Or should all the workers who built this country’s vast wealth just quietly retreat to an ice flow–oops. Not many of those left in the arctic wilderness, either.

            • Reality sucks

              You know that’s not the way I think. What I do think is that the system is not only failing itself, it’s failing you. There will be law suits, the government will intervene, I hope with an economic recovery in tow. But the first batch of these pension defaults are scheduld for 2017. There will be some before then. Yes, the problem is, in part, due to longevity. But, it’s also because these morons running the funds invested like they were going to earn 8% in the market and we all know that aint true. Also, the insurers won’t be keeping pace with the defaults when they come do. It’s a sad sad deal.

              • Reality sucks

                Oh, and I’m not talking about corporation pension plans. I’m talking about state and government pension plans.

                • Citizen

                  @Reality. ALL the pension plans, public and private, have the same problem. This country never counted on people living so long, even though it knew the vast numbers of boomers were going to affect health care and retirement systems, the same way their vast numbers affected the education and employment systems. The wild swings of Wall Street are due in no small part because so much of the wealth is now concentrated in so few hands, and so few hands makes for volatility. Whereas broad-based investment, much like broad-based taxes, makes for stability. None of these social issues or tax issues are uppermost in the minds of the investment speculators and Wall Street who are myopic at best and blinded to the larger picture at worst.

                • Reality sucks

                  So, you should be just as outraged as I am that Obama has accepted 16 Mill from Wall Street lobbiests—the most ever of any sitting president–Ha! I wanted this guy to clean out Wall Street from the White House. He just made it bigger,

                • Citizen

                  Obama is desperate to get reelected, and that is going to take a LOT of money. And who has the excess money to contribute for influence? Yep. Wall Street.

                • Reality sucks

                  Then, there’s the pause. Occupy Wall Street needs to take this up as their MAIN cause. Not just a factor. We can’t have our presidents use their clout and line their political pockets to pick the best stock such as Solyndra, sitting in a new GM car with the Korean Pres, picking the best windows for our houses or picking the best soup to put on our table to name the few from fast memory. SICK! Back to pensions…focus on the people and less on Wall Street and you get my vote!

            • Citizen

              @Reality. At 7 billion human beings on the planet and growing, human life is a cheap commodity and labor is relatively available. This same cheapening of human beings and their labor existed right before the Black Plague of the Middle Ages decimated the European population by half. After that, with labor in short supply, people were once again valued, and were even able to obtain their own landholdings. Now, we not only have a huge third-world labor force, we also have automation claiming jobs. Between the two, I think the challenge of the next decades will be how to enable people to live decent lives WITHOUT jobs. How will they be able to get money?

              • Reality sucks

                Oh my god. I hope I’m dead first.

    • G Dog

      Too bad that you have bowed to the corporate greed-mongers. Public employees pay an equal amount as their employer to build a nestegg for retirement. Do you lack the “balls” to make your long term means an important part of your employment?

      Live for today, pay for it tomorrow. But don’t condemn those who have a long term vision.

  • Kevin

    I am stupid.

  • G Dog

    I guess he forgot.

  • St Paul

    I have an idea!! This governor should go live in the same state that Timmy and Michelle move to after they all get voted out. I pity the state, but please leave Minnesota and Wisconsin. Can’t wait till next election!!!! Thanks for listening folks!!

    • Can't wait till next election

      @St. Paul,take Dayton and Franken with them.

  • Mike Jacobson

    It was only a matter of time before this low class liar got busted. The fools that elected him now look as stupid as he does. I look forward to the next memory slip by gov Walker.

  • Citizen

    I can’t wait to watch the recall efforts on Scott Walker. Should be an excellent “reality” show.

  • cathy

    at least he started paying- unlike dems who never seem to get their heads out of their backsides and do the right thing…

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