March 8, 2011
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has dismissed as "ridiculous" a letter from Democratic state senators requesting a meeting near the Wisconsin-Illinois border to hammer out a compromise that would end the state's ongoing budget battle.
"People talk about negotiating? We've been doing it for days," Walker said during a press conference Monday night. He pointed to the letter, written by Democratic Senate leader Mark Miller, as proof that the impasse is the fault of his colleagues on the left.
Since the 14 Democratic senators fled Wisconsin to delay a vote on his controversial budget repair bill, which includes restrictions on union bargaining rights, Walker said he and Republican Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald "have been reaching out to reasonable senators, many of whom are very interested and willing to come back to the state of Wisconsin."
Following conflicting accounts on Monday that the Democrats' return to the capitol was imminent, Walker alluded to the idea that Miller is the puppeteer behind the standoff.
Members of the public "were misled by the statement Miller made that the Senate was going to come back, and is now reversing course on that," Walker said. "I think that's indicative of the fact that Sen. Miller is misleading the public, just like he misled us, and apparently seems to be misleading members of his own caucus."
Wisconsin Dems also filed an ethics complaint against Walker on Monday for breaching "third-party coordination" regulations during a phone call with a reporter impersonating campaign contributor David Koch.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told CBS that he'd found nothing in Walker's statements that would warrant a criminal investigation.
March 8, 2011