Democratic Party Smear Against Scott Walker Debunked
Exhibit One of this bitterness has been the willingness of leftists to smear Republican Governor Scott Walker. Not merely to disagree (even vehemently) with his policies, but to flat out lie about him as a person, and his history.
Thus we have what was, until very recently, the “Walker bio” on the State Democratic website. It claims that Walker “was kicked out of elections at Marquette after masterminding a scheme scheme that destroyed newspapers critical of him” and that “Walker either dropped out or was forced out not long thereafter.”
One of our liberal colleagues, apparently accepting this, has assured us that Walker was kicked out of Marquette.
Dave Umhoefer of the Journal-Sentinel has investigated this for Politifact.
First finding: Scott Walker was never kicked out or forced out of Marquette.
We heard nothing — and found no evidence — suggesting Walker was pushed out of the university.
But publicly available documents cannot fully resolve the question, in part because a federal privacy law blocks release of information on former students unless the person consents. In addition, Walker told us he was sticking to an earlier decision not to release his transcript.
With that in mind, we asked Walker if he would allow Marquette to comment on his academic and conduct record. He did.
“Gov. Scott Walker was a student at Marquette from fall of 1986 until spring 1990 and was a senior in good standing when he voluntarily withdrew from Marquette,” the university said in a statement.
That means that no conduct issues, academic or otherwise, blocked Walker from continuing in school at the time of his departure, MU spokesman Brian Dorrington told us in early December 2013.
When we asked Dorrington whether any conduct issues were on Walker’s earlier school record, he said Walker would have to permit release of that information. Walker did so in response to our request.
“Governor Walker was in good standing each term while he was enrolled at Marquette University and when he left Marquette University,” Associate Vice Provost Anne Deahl said in a letter. “Governor Walker was not expelled or suspended from the university at any time.”
Finally, there’s another problem with the Democratic Party’s claims.
According to MU, Walker left school after the spring semester in 1990. That’s more than two years after the 1988 election, instead of the “not long after” the Dems claim.One claim that can’t be decisively debunked is that Walker and/or his supporters stole copies of a Marquette Tribune issue with an editorial endorsing Walker’s opponent in a student government election. No records exist to debunk that claim, but no records exist to support that claim either. Umhoefer found no evidence that Walker had done that.
Further, as the above statements from Marquette show, no conduct or academic issues prevented Walker from completing his Marquette degree. The now-current version of the Democratic Party website has this claim removed — while still being as nasty as it can possibly be. It has dropped the “forced out” [of Marquette] claim, but still has the “masterminded” claim.
Umhoefer does make a bit of an issue about somewhat inconsistent explanations Walker has given about why he did not return to Marquette and complete his degree. In reality, none of this is terribly damning, since in broad terms it’s clear why he didn’t: a lot was going on in his life, and school was not a top priority. When people recount their own motives and thinking, any account may be imprecise, since a lot of different thoughts and ideas go through people’s minds.
How sleazy was the Democratic Party in all this?
Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democrats, told us the party based its post on unnamed sources who he said had privately passed on information about possible “nefarious activity” that Tate did not describe.But “raising questions” by telling (or recklessly repeating) bald faced lies is out of bounds.
Those parties would be reluctant to talk to a reporter, he said. The allegation is defensible, said Tate, because the party is trying to raise questions about the “mystery” of Walker’s departure.
That’s a flimsy case, at best. At worst, it suggests a possible fictional smear.
Just why is Mike Tate still employed by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin?