Oct 16, 2015

Scott Walker's Pres Campaign Was a Fraud, and It Blew Up

Scott Walker's 70-day clusterfrack

It wasn't prescient to predict in February Scott Walker's campaign for the presidency was a fraud, not a serious campaign.

This was obvious.

Worse are today's reports Walker even screwed up his spend-thrift, tax payer-financed trips down the rabbit hole.

Notes top news pieces today on Walker:

  • How Scott Walker spent $90,000 a day to lose an election (Johnson, Washington Post)
  • Fiscal Conservative Scott Walker Spent Like a Drunken Sailor, Put Kids on Payroll
  • Reckless spending on exorbitant salaries killed the Walker campaign (Catanese, U.S. News and World Report)
  • Scott Walker faces tough task in repaying presidential campaign debts (Stein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"Given that Walker's campaign lasted just 70 days — from July 13 to Sept. 21," how did Scott Walker manage to spend $90,000 a day, the Post's Jenna Johnson asks.

Johnson's answer is instructive to Walker's delusions of grandeur and inflated sense of entitlement:

For Walker money went toward a payroll of more than 80, generous paychecks for top staffers, dozens of consultants and vendors who were paid tens of thousands of dollars, and elaborately staged campaign events. For a candidate who bragged on the campaign trail about finding deals at Kohl's and packing sack lunches to save money, the reports show that the campaign spent lavishly even as fundraising dollars began to disappear.

The campaign's payroll for those three months totaled nearly $2 million in salaries, taxes and benefits. Additionally, the campaign engaged dozens of consultants and vendors who were collectively paid more than $800,000. Walker's campaign was known for paying more than many of its rivals, and at least 20 employees were paid at least $30,000 in less than three months.

Walker's two college-age sons, Matt and Alex Walker, were both on the payroll but were among the least-compensated staff members, making less than $5,000 each. Five employees earned more than $50,000 in salary and benefits during that three-month period: Campaign manager Rick Wiley received nearly $52,000. Political director Matt Mason, $61,000. Communication director Kirsten Kukowski, more than $58,000. Treasurer Kate Lind, $57,730. General counsel Jonathan Waclawski, $57,600.

The campaign also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars setting up campaign stops and fundraisers. Even simple town-hall events in small towns featuring a stage, bright lights, a backdrop of flags and a sound system playing music. The campaign paid more than $126,000 to one firm alone, D.C.-based Harbinger LLC, to provide 'event production consulting.' The campaign would use video and photos from these events on Walker's social media platforms, on the campaign Web site and in promotional materials. The campaign had a full-time photographer on staff and also spent more than $100,000 on video production services. 

As Walker blows a hole in Wisconsin's budget deficit, perhaps even Walker has a new tag line: Unaccountable.

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