Did Wisconsin Teacher Union President Mary Bell Tell a Lie?

MADISON – Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell is a liar.

That’s according to a recent blog on BigGovernment.com by Collin Roth of Media Trackers.

Roth looked into recent media reports that WEAC officials asked prospective gubernatorial candidates to promise to veto any budget that doesn’t restore collective bargaining privileges for public sector unions.

He was inspired by Bell’s comments to the LaCrosse Tribune in which she insisted the union never asked for a veto pledge.

“Absolutely not,” Bell told the newspaper. “It’s not the approach that any of us would take.”

James Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, helped expose WEAC’s request for a veto pledge for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He told Roth he’s sticking to his statement, that WEAC and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union “demanded a hard commitment” on the veto pledge in exchange for their endorsement.

Bell is lying when she says otherwise, Palmer told Roth.

“I stand wholeheartedly by my statement regarding the effort of some unions to solicit a veto pledge from potential gubernatorial candidates,” Palmer wrote to Roth in an email. “In my view, such an approach, which makes for both bad policy and politics, is reckless at best, and at worst, it represents the very kind of back-room dealing the public has come to resent. Fortunately, I’m aware of only one candidate that was tempted by this nefarious solicitation.

“Mary Bell’s subsequent denial is completely false and amounts to nothing more than damage control,” Palmer wrote.

Palmer’s statements back up those made by gubernatorial candidates Tim Cullen, Peter Barca, and Kathleen Vinehout, Roth points out. WEAC’s hand-picked candidate, Kathleen Falk, has even penned an editorial for the LaCrosse Tribune to justify her ridiculous commitment to repeal Act 10.

While we’re hardly surprised that Bell backpedalled amid public criticism of the veto pledge, her lying is another illustration of the lengths that WEAC will go to manipulate the state’s citizens and its members. It shows that WEAC is dismissing scores of Wisconsinvoters who have interests beyond collective bargaining, the union’s sole focus for the recall election and next legislative session.

It’s also a perfect example of why Gov. Scott Walker curbed union power in the first place, and why repealing those reforms would be a very bad idea.