AP's Bauer Obsesses Over Walker Fundraising, Ignores Union Money and Resources

Though he hasn't been alone in his applying the campaign fundraisng double standard in Wisconsin's recall election, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has a particularly odious item today about the dollars raised by each side. It's particularly odious because the word "unions" appears only once -- as the target of Walker, who has, as Bauer sees it, "rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions." There is no mention of the millions of union dollars which have poured into Wisconsin from all over the country, which, thankfully, someone else has quantified.

Bauer also continues to bitterly cling to the notion, concerning which yours truly has been nagging him since February of last year, that "most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights" as a result of Walker-supported legislation which passed in the Legislature last year -- as if they no longer have any collective bargaining rights at all. This has been and continues to be a flat-out falsehood. The first five paragraphs of Bauer's bombast follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):


Wisconsin's Walker raises $31M in face of recal

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has raised about $31 million since he took office 17 months ago, including a remarkable $5.9 million in the last five weeks reported to Wisconsin regulators Tuesday.

The first-term Republican reported his latest donations a week before he faces Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election that is also a rematch of the 2010 governor's race. The state elections board predicted Tuesday that turnout would be between 60 percent and 65 percent, nearing levels normally seen in a presidential election.

Barrett, who was bound to fundraising limits of no more than $10,000 from any one donor, reported an impressive $3.4 million over the past five weeks. He raised about $4.2 million since joining the race at the end of March and had $1.5 million cash on hand.

In his 2010 campaign, Walker set the state's fundraising record by bringing in $11 million. But he has nearly tripled that since by playing off his national conservative credentials as he rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions.

That fight, in which most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights, triggered the recall. Wisconsin law allowed Walker, as the subject of the recall, to raise unlimited amounts to pay for any debts he incurred over a nearly five-week period.

That $31 million sounds impressive and somehow sinister, which seems to have been Bauer's point, until you look at what unions and "progressive" opponents of Walker have raised.

An April 22 Newsmax interview of Walker report his estimate that, in the words of reporters David A. Patten and Kathleen Walter, "big labor will invest as much as $60 million in its bid to defeat him." I'll bet that if Scott Bauer could disprove that contention, he would have in an AP report somewhere along the way. I don't think he has, because I don't think he can -- and Walker's $60 million estimate may not even include union officials who don't really have a day job but instead can spend weeks campaigning door to door and business to business. So he is instead pretending that the union funding doesn't exist. That way he makes Walker look the richly-funded heavyweight. How pathetic.

As to Bauer's ongoing claim about how "public workers lost their collective bargaining rights," here's a reminder of what he wrote in February of last year:

In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage – increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.

... Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

My response at the time:

Geez, Scott, if “unions could still represent workers,” they still have “collective-bargaining rights” — perhaps not as extensive as before, but they still have ‘em. Zheesh.

The response still stands, while Scott Bauer continues to misreport reality.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.