Climate activist masterfully punks Scott Walker: Now he looks like even more of a Koch stooge

Student dupes Walker into posing with check illustrating he's bought and paid for by the Koch brothers

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 3, 2015 7:04PM (EDT)

Scott Walker                        (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Scott Walker (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

It was supposed to be a routine meet-and-greet at a local New Hampshire pizza parlor, but today's campaign stop turned into a "Punk'd" episode for Republican presidential candidate, Scott Walker, after he was tricked into posing with a phony check from the Koch Brothers made out to him in the amount of $900,000.

According to The Guardian's Sabrina Siddiqui, who shared an image of Walker posing with the prop check, Walker appeared to believe he was posting with a sign that read "Walker 4 President" before the sign was turned to the cameras to expose its true sentiments:

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Walker appeared to have been trolled by a member of 350 Action, an environmental group which has led the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline and is calling on 2016 presidential candidates to refuse campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.

In a blog post on July 15, one day before the date on the phony check presented to Walker, 350 Action's Jong Chin outlined the group's efforts to push 2016 candidates on the issue of climate change in the early voting state of New Hampshire before promising, "we have some time to work with, and a lot of events to go to, including a couple Clinton and a couple Walker events on Thursday. We’ll keep you posted on those." But as 360 Action fellow Tyler McFarland explained on Twitter, the check was finally delivered to Walker today in Manchester:

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According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the Koch brothers have spent upwards of $11.6 million to support Scott Walker since he became governor of Wisconsin in 2011. And David Koch reportedly said that the Republican nominee "should be Scott Walker" earlier this year, although he and his brother Charles have yet to formally endorse a candidate.

Wisconsin's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands voted to prohibit its 10 full-time staff members from "engaging in global warming or climate change work while on BCPL time" earlier this year and on Earth Day, more than 100,000 signed petitions demanding that Walker end his censorship crusade against any talk of climate change were delivered to his office at the Wisconsin state capitol. That same day, Walker began delivering lay-off notices to 57 employees of the state's Department of Natural Resources.

As promised, Action 350 also pressed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a recent town hall in New Hampshire, imploring her "act on climate” by committing to ban fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Clinton did not commit to such a move.

According to the Washington Post, Action 350 were hardly the only people to have caused Walker a headache in New Hampshire today ahead of his appearance at the Voters First Forum:

Walker faced many more than usual during a campaign stop at Theo's late Monday morning ahead of an evening candidates' forum. Elizabeth Ropp, a 38-year-old acupuncturist who works in town, brought up the millions of dollars that defense contractors spend on elections and asked what he would do to ensure those companies did not unduly sway foreign policy decisions. (Walker shifted to talking about the need for a strong military and said he will soon roll out a foreign policy plan.) Emma Stein, a 20-year-old college student, asked about campaign finance reform. (There's a plan coming, he said.) Another 20-something asked about ending the revolving door between politics and lobbying. ("We'll certainly come out with a plan later this year," Walker said.)

Even those in the crowd who identified as proud Republicans often greeted the governor with a pointed question they wanted precisely answered. Again and again, Walker quoted passages from his standard stump speech — or told them to hold out for a policy plan.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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