Wisconsin lobbyist’s son unexpectedly quits lavish government job

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, April 8, 2011 11:10 EDT
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The son of a Wisconsin lobbyist whose firm heavily donated to Gov. Scott Walker (R) has unexpectedly quit his appointed post just days after media reports criticized the governor for picking him over candidates far more qualified for the lavishly paid state job.

Brian Deschane, 27, was initially given a job that earned $64,728-a-year, but within two months was bumped up to a position that earned over $81,000. He was demoted earlier this week, after Gov. Walker came under heavy rhetorical fire in the media for the hire.

His qualifications: dropping out of college, working for a few Republicans, working for a lobbyist shop and getting busted a couple times for DUI. Other candidates for the job, who sported much weightier qualifications, were not even interviewed.

Deschane’s departure was unexpected, Wisconsin Department of Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny told Daniel Bice, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reporter who broke the story and has followed it ever since.

Hozeny reportedly said that Descahne gave no reasons for his departure. “He just resigned.”

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.

His father is Jerry Deschane, the executive vice president of the Wisconsin Builders’ Association, which gave Gov. Walker over $121,000 through individual and organized donations.

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

Many of Walker’s critics 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.

Walker’s political opponents have since begun organizing recall elections against him and other Republican lawmakers in the state.

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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