Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was prank-called by a liberal blogger posing as a wealthy Republican donor, Walker's office said Wednesday.
A Walker spokesman said the governor is the man speaking to a blogger posing as David Koch, the Republican billionaire businessman. The audio was posted on Buffalo Beast, a left-leaning website.
"The governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call, the governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse," spokesman Cullen Werwie said in a statement, according to WISC-TV. "He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. 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 Wisconsin is having."
The prank call is the latest incident in the high-profile battle over Walker's budget plan. It quickly made its way around the Web on Wednesday, and Walker's opponents pounced on the contents of the call, saying it shows Walker is stubbornly pursuing his budget-fix bill at all costs.
Both sides have accused outside groups of meddling in Wisconsin's budget battle. Conservatives have taken aim at the White House and the Democratic National Committee for helping organize events in Wisconsin for the protesters. And liberals have criticized the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity for launching an ad in support of Walker.
In the call, Walker openly discusses ways to lure state Senate Democrats back to the state capital of Madison to bring the upper chamber back into session, which would likely allow passage of the legislation. Walker addressed the contents of the call at a press conference later on Wednesday.
"In terms of other ways to come on in, it's not a trick. We've said it point blank. Come on in and talk about it...I'm willing to talk about it but I ultimately believe that it needs to lead to a vote." Walker said. "Now, I'm not going to allow one prank phone call to become a distraction from the reality that we have a job to do."
A number of state Dems fled to neighboring Illinois to protest Walker's plan, which would force most public employees to pay for part of their pension and healthcare benefits and would limit their collective bargaining rights.
The bill has also sparked massive protests by union workers and their supporters.