Reality Check

Reality Check: Ad targets Walker on education cuts, John Doe probe

Greater Wisconsin Political Fund runs ad

MADISON, Wis. - The John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County is once again mentioned in a new ad running by a third-party group.

But it's on the topic of tax breaks where the facts are fudged.

The liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee is now weighing in on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's record in the last year on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett.

The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund paid for the ad, but where did the money come from? The latest campaign finance reports show $2.2 million from liberal union group We Are Wisconsin and almost $1 million coming from the Democratic Governor's Association.

"Scott Walker said there was no money for schools but gave a $1 billion to big corporations," the ad's announcer says.

"He just took that money and gave it away," says a woman on the street in the ad.

WISC-TV found this is misleading. The governor can't give state money away, but he can reduce money sent to state schools and make law changes that can cut how much money the state takes in.

He did push through tax cuts for corporations and small businesses in 2011, but the impact in this budget is not $1 billion but $208 million, which doesn't come close to making up for the $800 million in cuts the governor made to schools. Over 10 years the tax cuts are expected to decrease state revenue by $2.3 billion.

"He concealed his plan to destroy workers rights," the ad announcer says.

"He lied about what he was going to do when he campaigned," says a woman in the ad, labeled "former Walker voter."


WISC-TV found this needs clarification. Walker never said he would not push for collective bargaining changes, but it was an omission.

Walker campaigned on the fact he would expect state employees to pay more for their pension and health care, he just never said he would do it by changing state laws to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

"Now, Walker won't come clean about his role in the corruption scandal," the ad announcer says. "Top aides accused of crimes, feet from his office."

WISC-TV found this is true. The governor has declined to answer questions about the John Doe investigation that's so far dealt with his aides and associates, including what he knew about what was going on at the time.

Walker has said he's been asked not to say anything by the district attorney, and if he has testified secrecy laws prevent him from talking about his testimony. 

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