When labor activists showed up at Wisconsin State Sen. Randy Hopper's front door to harass him about the anti-union bill before the state legislature, they got a juicier reaction than they would have ever dared to dream of: Hopper's wife answered the door and said she'd support his recall, because he'd moved in with his mistress. Now comes news that Gov. Scott Walker's chief of staff helped the mistress get a plum job with the state.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Daniel Bice reports that Valerie Cass, 26, secured a gig with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing February 7. She's being paid significantly more than her predecessor at $20.35 an hour. The department got Cass's name from Keith Gilkes, Walker's chief of staff. Cass's position is temporary--she can't work more than 1,043 hours per fiscal year. But if she did work a full year, she'd make about $43,000--that's $12,000 more than her predecessor.
Walker has stressed the need for curbing public sector unions' power to negotiate for benefits because his state is in major financial trouble. Greg Sargent says it's unclear whether Cass's job will snowball into a big political problem, since it looks like a "standard-issue patronage hire."
Still, against a political backdrop where Walker has repeatedly and falsely claimed that Wisconsin is ”broke,” even as he demanded that public employees give up fiscal concessions and bargaining rights in the spirit of shared sacrifice for the state, unions and Dems will jump on this tale as proof that Walker’s priorities are deeply out of whack.
If nothing else, the revelation will make for some interesting attack ad fodder.