An Indiana prosecutor has quit after the public release of an email he sent Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker urging him to fake an assassination attempt in order to sway public opinion against public sector unions, Talking Points Memo's Eric Kleefeld reports. The prosecutor, Carlos Lam, emailed Walker on February 19 as thousands were protesting state legislation that would curb government worker unions' right to collective bargaining. Lam initially denied he sent the email, included among tens of thousands of messages made public after requests from reporters, saying his identity had been stolen. He also denied he would suggest such a thing, telling Wisconsin Watch, "I think he's trying to do what he has to do to get his budget balanced. But jeez, that's taking it a little bit to the extreme."
But by late Thursday, Lam (pictured above) admitted he sent the message, and turned in his resignation as deputy prosecutor for Johnson County, Indiana. Lam's email read:
As an aside, I've been involved in GOP politics here in Indiana for 18 years, and I think that the situation in WI presents a good opportunity for what's called a "false flag" operation. If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the public unions. Currently the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest. Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.
Walker's spokesman condemned the suggestion in Lam's email and denied anyone in the governor's office had seen it. Still, in the continuing union battles, Lam is not the only one to advocate such unusual political tricks:
- Just days after Lam sent his fake assassination email, Indiana deputy attorney general Jeff Cox tweeted that police should use "live ammunition" on protesters in Madison. Though at first he didn't connect the Twitter handle to the attorney general, Mother Jones's Adam Weinstein confronted Cox, who stood by his post. Cox tweeted back that protesters were "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials," and thus, "you're damned right I advocate deadly force." After all, Cox wrote, "liberals hate police." Cox was fired a few days after the exchange.
- But Indiana isn't having all the fun. Wisconsin is getting in on the muscular politicking, too. The University of Wisconsin's William Cronon says he's the victim of a McCarthy-style intimidation campaign because he wrote an op-ed in The New York Times recalling his state's bipartisan "good government" history of supporting collective bargaining rights. Now the Wisconsin Republican Party is pushing to open up Cronon's email records on the grounds that as a state employee, Cronon's messages are subject to the state's open-records laws, The Atlantic's James Fallows reports.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.