Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker speaks during a town hall meeting Monday in Las Vegas during a stop in his Republican presidential campaign. Walker called for sweeping restrictions on organized labor in the U.S.

Let's step back a minute here today.

Remember that state Supreme Court decision early this summer written by that great legal mind Justice Michael Gableman? It was the decision in which he and the three other conservatives on the court — David Prosser, Annette Ziegler and Pat Roggensack — ended the John Doe investigation that was trying to determine if Scott Walker had violated state law by mingling his recall election campaign with right-wing dark-money groups.

And remember the upshot over that decision? Not only did it end the John Doe probe, but it essentially reshaped how political campaigns can be run in our state. The decision declared that state laws that prohibit coordination between a politician's campaign — whose donors must be identified — and the campaigns of so-called independent outside groups — whose donors are secret — aren't valid. It's not illegal to collaborate, declared the four justices, who all just happened to be recipients of that dark money themselves.

Consequently, it is now legal in our once relatively clean state to shovel tons of money directly into a politician's campaign coffers without the public ever learning who is buying — or, at least, trying to buy — that politician.

That's what Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican majority of the Wisconsin Legislature these days have always maintained. Not only do they believe that money is speech, but the corporate execs and fat cats who dish it out shouldn't be required to fess up about who it is they're supporting. They've fought every attempt and joined every lawsuit to make it that way.

I mention all this because of its stunning hypocrisy, a hypocrisy that bared its ugly face last week in Las Vegas when presidential candidate Walker unveiled his campaign pledge to eviscerate federal employee unions, abolish the National Labor Relations Board and make the United States a "right-to-work" country. 

What few have taken notice of is that as part of his latest war on unions, Walker had the audacity to proclaim that if he's elected president he will require unions to disclose the amount of dues they spend on political activity, plus provide online disclosure of all their expenditures.

Funny, he doesn't have a similar plan to require the Koch brothers and the other billionaires who want to further tilt the playing field in their direction to disclose how much they're polluting the American political system. It's only the "special interests" that represent working people that bother this two-faced politician.

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At least the rest of America got a warning that if he becomes president, Walker will work to do away with unions and help the 1 percent take control of even more of the national economy. People in Wisconsin never got that warning before he unloaded his Act 10 bombshell shortly after he became governor in 2011.

With any luck, this latest buffoonery on Walker's part will catapult him out of the presidential campaign and back to Wisconsin with his tail between his legs.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel

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Editor Emeritus

Dave is editor emeritus of The Capital Times.