Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave away more than just his strategy back in February, when he thought he was talking to billionaire conservative activist David Koch. Instead he was talking to a liberal blogger for the Buffalo Beast, who duped Walker into openly airing out his campaign plans. The prank actually had no link to the recently controversial “safe caller ID” phone service that allows individuals and businesses to replace their contact information with contact information of their choice. According to reports, the blogger allegedly used a deep voice and introduced himself to Walker’s secretary as being David Koch. That was it.
While being duped by a simple phone prank may have been embarrassing enough for the Wisconsin Governor, the information he revealed was what really hit the media. Walker, believing his conversation would be held in confidence, discussed his plans to disable public employee unions and a way to get around his Democratic opponents.
Walker allegedly spoke of stripping most public employees of their bargaining rights and forcing them to pay more for their own healthcare and retirement benefits. Unions would not be allowed to collect mandatory dues and they would be forced to win members votes to even stay in existence.
The blogger and prank caller figured that Walker would speak candidly with David Koch, since he is co-owner of Koch Industries Inc., the largest privately owned company in America. The company’s political action committee gave over $ 40,000 to Governor Walker’s campaign, as they have significant operations in Wisconsin.
While Walker publicly admitted to being duped and stated that “the things I said [to the prank caller] are the things I’ve said publicly all the time,” his conversation also included a plan to get around his opponents’ votes by luring them to the Capitol. Walker reportedly said he was hoping to get the Democrats back to the Capitol to require them to pick up their paychecks rather than have their money directly deposited. He mentioned another idea of passing the bill while Democrats were still in talks.
The scandal has led to more than a week of protests at the Capitol, and many opponents feel he is taking the issue from budget cuts to a political war.
While none of the Caller ID Spoofing companies advocate or condone any pranking or misuse of their technology, it’s interesting to see how pranking still exists outside of the technology. Phone call pranking was around far before the existence of Safe Caller ID services and unfortunately this incident proves that it will exist with or without this service.