Alan Colmes: Gov. Walker Exempted Police and Firefighters From Budget Bill as Payback for Their Support

It's approaching three weeks since the budget battle began in Wisconsin and Alan Colmes still doesn't understand some of the facts.

On Saturday's "Fox News Watch," the perilously liberal commentator claimed Gov. Scott Walker exempted policemen and firefighters from his budget repair bill as a payback for their support during last November's elections (video follows with transcript and commentary):

ALAN COLMES: Why does Scott Walker exempt the police and the fire from his collective bargaining?

JIM PINKERTON: That is a good question.

COLMES: No, tell me why he did it. Then why did he do it? Then why did he do it? He did it because they contributed to his campaign and supported him.

PINKERTON: Now you’re agreeing that collective bargaining has an impact on salaries.

COLMES: No I’m not agreeing to that.

PINKERTON: That is evidence to why…

ANDREA TANTAROS: That’s right.

PINKERTON: Thank you, Andrea.

COLMES: No, that is not what I said.

TANTAROS: It’s a corruption issue. You just mentioned it. That’s the one point…

COLMES: Wait a minute. The corruption issue is when the governor agrees to exempt unions that supported him from doing what he wanted to do to destroy the unions.

No Alan. As Politifact reported on February 21:

During the campaign last November, leaders of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association and Milwaukee Police Association appeared in an ad supporting Walker and blasting his opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett. Walker also won endorsements from the West Allis Professional Police Association and the Wisconsin Troopers Association

Walker didn’t get the endorsements of two statewide unions, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, which both backed Barrett.

For the record, the governor told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the charge that he was exempting police and firefighters was "ridiculous." He said he didn't recommend changing the rules for police officers and firefighters because he didn’t want public safety work disrupted.

We then contacted the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the statewide union that endorsed Walker's opponent last year. Executive director Jim Palmer said the statewide organization is much larger than the local Milwaukee police union that endorsed Walker. The state group has approximately 11,000 members versus Milwaukee’s roughly 1,400, he said.

Similarly, the state firefighters association has more than 3,000, compared with the Milwaukee union’s 875.

As NewsBusters reported on February 21, the truth is completely available on the Internet:

"THE WPPA ENDORSES TOM BARRETT FOR GOVERNOR":

Surrounded by law enforcement officers at a May 12th [2010] event, Tom Barrett received the endorsement of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association in his race to become the state’s next governor. [...]

The WPPA represents over 11,000 active and retired members from over 375 locals statewide. With over 70 years of service to law enforcement personnel, the WPPA is recognized as the leading law enforcement association in Wisconsin.

Or how about "Wisconsin Professional Fire Fighters endorse Tom Barrett for governor."

Finally, on an even grander scale, "Barrett endorsed by National Association of Police Officers":

On behalf of the more than 240,000 men and women of law enforcement it represents, the National Association of Police Officers (NAPO) today endorsed Tom Barrett for Wisconsin governor in recognition of his long record of support for and public safety officials and issues.

“NAPO is pleased to support your campaign and is confident of your support of Wisconsin’s law enforcement community,” NAPO executive director William J. Johnson wrote in a letter to Tom.

NAPO is a coalition of police unions and associations from across the United States that serves to advance the interests of America’s law enforcement through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. Founded in 1978, NAPO now represents more than 1,000 police units and associations, 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers, 11,000 retired officers and more than 100,000 citizens who share a common dedication to fair and effective crime control and law enforcement.

Add it all up, and Colmes, as seems is so often the case, was 100 percent wrong.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.