Sex Offending Welders for Scott Walker!


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that a welder whom Gov. Scott Walker recognized on stage during his state of the state address is a registered sex offender with a spotty past. The welder, Christopher Barber, was recommended by his employer Ariens Co. after earning seasonal employment in late 2012 and turning that position into a full-time job with the company.  

His story, of being unable to find a job before seizing the small opportunity to reverse his fortunes, was the centerpiece of a Scott Walker press release. A photograph of him being recognized by the Governor was on the front page of several newspapers the day following the speech. As Gov. Walker noted during his State of the State address:

“These are the faces of an improving economy in our state.  Wisconsin is going back to work.”

However, according to the office of Gov. Walker, a background check was not performed on Barber before his addition to the festivities. In an email to the Journal-Sentinel, Walker aide Tom Evenson explained:

…the administration had contacted employers in the state to see if they could recommend workers hired since Walker took office in 2011 who would be interested in being mentioned in the annual speech.

Barber fit the bill.

“Obviously, if we had been aware of this individual’s prior convictions, he would not have been invited to participate,” Evenson said by email.

“It’s customary for us to background all participants, which we did do with every other person mentioned in the speech,” he continued.”This individual was a very late addition and was recommended by a reputable employer in our state, who typically perform their own background checks, so a check was not done internally.”

Walker called the blind addition “frustrating” but onlookers have not come to expect much more from the man and his team.

Barber’s absence from the workforce appears to have had little to do with the state of the economy and much more to do with his legal background. Barber is a registered sex offender who was convicted of Third Degree Sexual Assault. In 1999, he was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation after being convicted of forgery. His probation was later revoked. In 2005, he accepted the third degree assault as part of a plea deal which saw two drug charges against him dropped. He served three years in jail and was given five years of probation. That probation was also revoked. He also was convicted of misdemeanor battery and has been charged with several criminal traffic offenses including three drunk driving charges.  

Ariens Co., who recommended Barber as an example of the good they are doing for the economy, has a long history of supporting Gov. Walker. Its CEO was made the Vice Chairman of the oft-criticized Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., according to the Journal-Sentinel:

Ariens company officials have long been Walker backers.

The governor attended the company’s 80th anniversary celebration in the fall, and he has received nearly 40 donations from Ariens employees, even though the total income has been a rather modest $4,625. In 2011, Walker appointed company CEO Dan Ariens to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board, where he is now the vice chairman.

Walker doesn’t have much of a track record in the vetting department:

Late last year, he fired Taylor Palmisano, his campaign’s deputy finance director, after No Quarter turned up tweets she had posted two years earlier that were demeaning to Hispanics. In May 2013, Nicole Tieman resigned without explanation as Walker’s campaign spokeswoman. No Quarter later reported that she was serving a 20-day sentence in jail after her second drunken-driving conviction.

Mediocrity and cronyism: the Scott Walker story.

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