Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office has confirmed that it fell for a prank call from a liberal blogger who was apparently posing as David Koch. A blogger at buffalobeast.com posted audio of a call he claimed was with Walker earlier on Wednesday. At time of writing, buffalobeast.com appears to be down.
Walker spokesperson Cullen Werwie gave the following statement to The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. The phone call shows that the Governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate Wisconsin is having.
Walker spoke with “Koch” for about 20 minutes, and spent part of the time detailing the ways in which he is trying to force the Democratic state Senators to end their walkout.
Except for some of the “radical” Democratic Senators, Walker says, “most of the rest of them are just looking for a way to get out of this, you know, they’re scared out of their minds, they don’t know what it means.”
Walker tells “Koch” he plans to put out an appeal for a sit down talk with the Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly, if the 14 runaway Senators will agree to come back to the Capitol.
“Legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there,” Walker explains. “If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action, and they’d have a quorum because they started out that way.”
A little later in the call, “Koch” offers to help.
“What we were thinking about the crowds, was planting some trouble makers,” “Koch” says.
Walker pauses for a moment, then responds:
Well, the only problem, because we thought about that, my only gut reaction to that would be, right now, the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this. The teachers union did some polling and focus groups, I think, and found out that the public turned on them the minute they closed school down for a couple days. The guys we have left are largely from out of state, and I keep dismissing it in my press comment saying, ‘eh, they’re mostly from out of state.’”
I’m saying hey, ‘we can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, you know, full of the 60s liberals.’ Let them protest. It’s not going to affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes, and the majority of people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let them protest all they want.
You can listen to the calls yourself below:
This post has been updated.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com