Scott Walker Praises Sex Offender In State Of The State Address

Michael Bonfigli

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) touted his administration’s record of job creation in Wednesday’s “state of the state” address by trotting out a formerly unemployed man who secured a full-time welding job.

But research by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel showed that part of the reason Christopher Barber, 32, had struggled to land a job was that he was a registered sex offender with a rap sheet.

Records show Barber had two felonies and three drunk-driving offenses under his belt and was in and out of prison over the past decade, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson told the newspaper that the administration asked employers to recommend workers hired since Walker assumed office in 2011 to take part in the annual speech. Barber was recommended by Ariens, a company with ties to Walker that makes snowblowers and riding mowers.

“Obviously, if we had been aware of this individual’s prior convictions, he would not have been invited to participate,” Evenson told the Journal-Sentinel in an email.

It’s not the first time Walker’s team didn’t sufficiently vet someone tied to the governor. Walker fired a campaign aide in December for tweets she posted more than two years earlier that made offensive remarks about Hispanics.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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