After critical media reports, Walker demotes lobbyist’s son

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 10:15 EDT
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The 27-year-old son of a major supporter of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been demoted after critical media reports revealed that the embattled Republican had given the young man an $81,000-a-year job in his administration, even over more qualified candidates.

Walker’s office told area media that Brian Deschane would be moved back to bureau director at the state Department of Regulation and Licensing, where he will again be making $64,728.

When Brian first held the job, he landed a 26 percent pay raise within the first two months, according to The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. It’s a very generous percentage too — unlike Wisconsin teachers, who typically make about half of Deschane’s salary and see their pay increase only 21 percent every 10 years.

The Sentinel also noted that two other candidates who were considered for the $81,000-a-year job were immensely qualified for the position, whereas Deschane only had a high school diploma and a history of drunk driving. Neither other man was even interviewed for the job, whereas the son of a lobbyist with a trade group that gave over $121,000 to the governor was an apparent shoo-in.

Deschane’s online resume places him at a number of jobs in recent years, including fundraising for Republicans, working in the office of a Republican state Senator, managing a failed Republican congressional campaign and finally serving pseudo-political functions at big business lobbying groups connected to his father’s industry.

Walker had previously called him a “natural fit” for the job, but the Sentinel noted that after its initial report, Walker’s administration claimed it had only just heard of their staffing agency’s decision.

Many of Walker’s critics already accuse the governor of creating the state’s budget crisis and using it to reduce benefits for state workers, pointing to the $140 million in spending and tax breaks he and fellow Republicans pushed through the legislature in January.

Walker claims the state’s deficit is at or around $137 million, and that removing the right of public workers to bargain for better compensation and working conditions is the only way to solve the crisis.

Wisconsin Democrats have since set about collecting signatures for numerous Republican state Senators, with an eye on triggering a series of recall elections that could flip the balance of the state’s legislature.

Although the state’s Republicans claim they passed a bill stripping unions of their right to organize, a judge has placed it on hold and it has not been implemented.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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