Governor Scott Walker is to announce his vetoes and sign the state budget Sunday. I believe Walker will veto the provision removing the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from the UW-Madison campus. While I support this move, I've been disappointed that whoever the Republican is responsible for adding it to the budget won't come forward and say they did it. I think being too cowardly to put your name to such an act gives credibility to the "petty and vindictive" theme that opponents of the move have been using. Hiding in and of itself is petty. You feel strongly about this but not so strongly that you'll say it was your idea?
On Wednesday Wisconsin Reporter ran a piece which seemed to out Assembly Speaker Robin Vos as the originator of this idea:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, acted to preserve “the separation of the press and state” and to avoid “creating arrangements that some in the public might perceive to be helping one organization (with subsidies).”
So, I asked Justin Cleveland in Vos' office if his boss brought forth this budget provision:
The change was made by the Joint Finance Committee in the final motion, which has a lot of ideas from a lot of different people. The story makes it seem like Robin walked it in directly, which (to my knowledge) isn’t accurate. That said, he’s said often that he takes responsibility for things that come from the caucus and I know this is something that’s bothered him in the past and that he supported the move.
Ah, lots of people, lot's of different ideas...it all happens so quickly, who can so who is responsible for what? Well somebody said this outloud first and Cleveland didn't deny it was Vos. As Cleveland was composing this email I called Vos' office and we spoke. I said I'd like to ask the question directly of Vos; did he "walk it in directly" to use Cleveland's phrase.
Cleveland told me he passed my request for direct comment onto "Comms" Director Kit Beyer. That was 11:39 AM Thursday. I sent Cleveland another email this morning asking if I could expect an answer before this morning's show. So far, I have received no response.
Scott Walker has, to a flaw, avoided the perception that he wants to stifle free speech. I think his concern about that perception is what allowed liberals to run amok in the capitol building and in Madison during the Act 10 debate. It's why I think he'll veto the WCIJ provision. Bringing this forward and then being too afraid to put your name on it makes Walker's decision that much easier, in my opinion.