Koch-Funded Walker Testifies To Congress About Prank Call

April 14, 2011 1:48 pm ET — Brian Powell

Congressional Republicans, led by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), have invited controversial Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker (R) to Capitol Hill to testify in a hearing about how to address state budget deficits. Walker is infamous for the mass protests that resulted after he proposed a bill slashing the collective bargaining rights of public employees in what he described as an attempt to make up state budget shortfalls.

Walker is perhaps even more infamous for his mid-crisis conversation with a prank caller pretending to be billionaire political interloper David Koch. Walker's campaign had received $43,000 in contributions from Koch Industries PAC, and during their conversation, Walker treated "Koch" as a trusted ally.

Koch's influence holds sway over more than just the Wisconsin governor's office, however. Issa's Oversight Committee is comprised of at least fourteen Republicans who have received a total of over $111,000 from the Koch Industries PAC in recent years, according to research by Public Campaign. They also note that at least three witnesses before the committee either work for organizations that have received money from the Koch foundations or have attended private retreats with them.

In Thursday's Oversight hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) challenged Walker on comments he made during the phone call and the underlying motivations behind Walker's union-busting bill:

CONNOLLY: You got a famous phone call from somebody pretending to be David Koch — or Koch, or however one pronounces it — and he said, "Well I'll tell you what, Scott. Once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time."

You responded to that by saying, "All right. That would be outstanding." What did you mean by that? And what did you think he meant?

WALKER: At that point I was done on the call, I had two other people waiting for me, and I was trying to get off the call and get on to the next issue.

CONNOLLY: It wasn't that you honestly thought it was Mr. Koch and that he was promising to reward you for what you were doing?

WALKER: I did not. In that regard, no.

CONNOLLY: The, uh, flying out to Cali thing didn't strike you?

WALKER: No. I don't even know where Cali is.

CONNOLLY: Have you ever had a conversation, um, with respect to your actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and donor base?

WALKER: No.

CONNOLLY: You've never had such a conversation?

WALKER: No.

CONNOLLY: Thank you, my time is up.

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