Madison, Wis. (AP) - A prank caller pretending to be billionaire conservative businessman David Koch was able to have a lengthy conversation with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about his strategy to cripple public employee unions, the governor's office confirmed Wednesday.
On the call, Walker joked about bringing a baseball bat to a meeting with Democratic leaders, said it would "be outstanding" to be flown out to California by Koch for a good time after the battle is over, and said he expected the anti-union movement to spread across the country.
Audio was posted on the Buffalo Beast, a left-leaning website based in
"That's why we must fight it! That is why people must come to the Capitol and fight this!" Rep. Jon Richards of
The governor's plan would take away the ability of state and local public employees to collectively bargain for working conditions, benefits, or any other than their base salaries. Unions could not collect mandatory dues and would face a vote of its members every year to stay in existence.
The plan has set off more than a week of demonstrations at the Capitol, and prompted Wisconsin Senate Democrats to flee the state to block its passage. Similar ideas are being pushed in some other states with Republican governors.
The man pretending to be Koch said, "You're the first domino."
"Yep, this is our moment,"
The brothers own Koch Industries, Inc., which is the largest privately-owned company in
The Kochs also give millions to support Americans For Prosperity, which launched a $320,000 television ad campaign in favor of
On the call,
The caller suggested he was thinking about "planting some troublemakers" among the protesters, and
At the end of the call, the prankster says: "I'll tell you what Scott, once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to
"Alright, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support and helping us move the cause forward. We appreciate it and we're doing the just and right thing for the right reasons and it's all about getting our freedoms back,"
The caller: "Absolutely. And you know, we have a little bit of vested interest as well" and laughs.
"That's just it. The bottom line is, we're going to get the world movement here because it's the right thing to do."
Cullen called the call an "astounding confirmation of what we've been saying for a couple weeks now."
"This bill is about the money," he said. "This bill is about destroying public employee unions."
Cullen said he felt the call "displays a level of partisanship and pettiness on the side of the governor I don't think is going to sit well with the public."
Werwie, the governor's spokesman, said the phone call "shows that the governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.