Inside the Wisconsin DOA

In today’s Isthmus, Bill Lueders has a great piece worth reading about the new direction of the Department of Administration under Scott Walker. Here is the link:

There is one piece of information that Bill misses, however, that is critical to understanding the inner workings of the Walker administration. The person Bill references as the spokesperson for the DOA, Carla Vigue, is the media contact – not the spokesperson. The “temporary” spokesperson (his words not mine) during this period of time is Tim Donovan. If that name rings a bell to any of you, it is because he is a retired Colonel in the WI National Guard – media affairs, where he served a tour in Iraq before coming home to retirement. I had the opportunity to speak with Tim Donovan during the height of the protests, and he was very good at sticking with the talking points regarding Capitol Access and security measures. Of course he was. Here is what I find most interesting about this situation. First, Tim Donovan was turned down for a spokesperson job with the VA under Governor Doyle. That position went to a woman, and he abruptly sued the state for reverse discrimination, stating in the Wisconsin State Journal that the state doesn’t hire enough “old, white men”.  He lost that case. Second, being in Military Affairs, at a high level, he is well-trained in the methods of propaganda for winning “hearts and minds”. We are bearing witness to many instances of misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies – many of which are well documented in this and other blogs, and even the media. Obviously, this appointment was a gift. Tim Donovan would be a willing accomplice and, possibly, engineer of many decisions during the protests, security briefings (and how to play them in the media), and controlling information coming out of the Governor’s Office.

More evidence of the consolidation of power being attempted by Scott Walker on behalf of the people who bought and paid for his services. Even as a temporary appointment, he is there for a reason. As this is written, the Dane County Circuit Court has placed an emergency hold on the “Budget Repair Bill”, as there is enough evidence that the State Open Meetings Law was violated. A small victory. Keep on – recalls and Supreme Court elections are coming soon.

On Wisconsin!


2 thoughts on “Inside the Wisconsin DOA

  1. I just ran across this blog tonight (April 4) after speaking with you on the phone earlier today.

    As you note, I am a retired military public affairs officer and did serve in that capacity in Iraq in 2009. And I’m experienced in news media relations, as you also point out, which is why I was asked to help out at the Capitol for about two weeks during what I would describe as a crush of news inquiries about the ongoing protests and how they affected Capitol access and law enforcement operations.

    But I protest your suggestion that anything I said or did during my two weeks at the Capitol was intentionally misleading, that any of it was propaganda, or that I was ever dishonest in any of my many contacts with journalists or the public–or anyone else, for that matter.

    In 38 years as a military public affairs officer I have never lied. Not once. Never. Ever.

    I have occasionally withheld information (as laws related to national security and privacy require–and sometimes to comply with regulations or because I was not the appropriate release authority). And I have sometimes provided information I later learned was incorrect and in these cases I have always corrected it as best I could.

    But I have never lied. Ever.

    I will also tell you that I was never asked or expected to misinform or mislead anyone during my two weeks at the Capitol. Nor did I engineer any decisions or control information from the Governor’s office, as your blog suggests. I was temporary help, loaned from another state agency. I had nothing to gain, was not trying to impress anyone, and was not seeking a state job. A gift? Although my two weeks at the Capitol was an interesting diversion from my normal duties, fielding hundreds of news inquiries and getting more than 500 angry phone calls from people hoping I will “die a slow, painful death,” predicting I will “rot in hell,” and telling me I am a “despicable, lying stooge” was not a gift. I get such calls even now, three weeks after my brief stint at the Capitol ended.

    Finally, for the record, you got the facts of my employment discrimination case against the Department of Veterans Affairs wrong. I didn’t lose the case, which is still pending.

    • Hi Tim,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I had to go back and re-read the post you were referencing – it’s been a while. I apologize for the mis-statement as to your pending lawsuit – I think I was looking at another website that had the information wrong. Again, my apologies – I hope you noticed in my blog posted yesterday that I did state your lawsuit was pending. I also want to clarify – in spite of our likely political disagreements, I have the utmost respect for you. I don’t think you ever lied to me – I believe there was information you did not have access to at that time, or that you were withholding information at times. I admit, the “lock down” of the Capitol (which continues to this day against a court order – we may see the consequences of that in May when hearings resume) was abhorrent to me, especially in the light of people being kept out of hearings (again, we are seeing the consequences in court), and the clear intent of the Constitution to have it be open. The Capitol was not closed during violent protests in the Vietnam era. My reference to “lying” was in regard to the Walker Administration and the Fitzgerald brothers. You were part of the “Administration”, so some of my inference was indirectly aimed at you – though I don’t believe you personally directly lied to me. I will also take you at your word that you had no hand in policy being made at the time. Although I believe you most likely heard things that will probably never be disclosed (i.e., discussions over legality and concern over policies being implemented at the time). Finally, I hope you understand that in my recent blog, I did state admiration for the fact that you recognized the potential for conflict in a state VA position for you – something others recently appointed should consider, but haven’t. I also never treated you poorly in our conversations, and hope you know I never wished you to “rot in hell.” I’d like your permission to publish your response – a “set the record straight”, if you will. Let me know – you have my cell # – I’ll check in with you.

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