The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released the first of what will likely be a barrage of recall-themed advertisements Monday, as the anticipated recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker and five Republican politicians loom ahead.
The advertisement, titled “Walkergate,” draws a parallel between the ongoing John Doe scandal involving six of Walker’s former aides and President Richard Nixon’s infamous “Watergate” scandal.
Over the past few months, six former aides to then-Milwaukee County Executive Walker have been charged with crimes including theft of $60,000 intended for the families of soldiers killed in action, child sex crimes, illegal campaign contributions and an illegal email network.
One former aide has been convicted and two have pleaded guilty in the ongoing scandal that Walker has continually denied having any knowledge of.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Graeme Zielinski said while most Wisconsinites know about Walker’s “disastrous cuts to education, attack on workers, and failure on jobs,” many are unaware of Walker’s role in the scandal.
According to Press Secretary for the Walker campaign Tom Evenson, Walker immediately addressed any issues of misconduct when brought to his attention and maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.
Evenson said in an email Monday that by comparing the John Doe case to Watergate, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s “character assassination” of Walker is “grasping at straws.”
UW-Madison Professor James L. Baughman agrees the comparison is a stretch.
“With Watergate, Nixon’s undoing was knowing more than he let on in the cover up,” Baughman said. “I don’t think they have that on Walker. I’m troubled by the idea of the analogy.”
Zielinski defended the advertisement, saying there is plenty of evidence Walker has been hiding criminal activity and his denials are not believable.
Despite his reservations, Baughman admitted, “It’s a clever ad. Maybe it’ll work.”