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Sunday, February 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 16.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
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Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz presses Walker for response on 'troublemaker' comment

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz sent Gov. Scott Walker a letter Friday, demanding an explanation to comments Walker made during a prank call that the governor thought was with billionaire donor David Koch.

Ian Murphy, a reporter in Buffalo, called Walker pretending to be Koch and recorded the call. In the call, Murphy offers to help by "planting some troublemakers" among the protesters.

Walker responded: "We thought about that," and added, "My only fear would be if there was a ruckus caused, is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor's got to settle to avoid all these problems."

Cieslewicz says he was "dumbfounded" when he heard the recording (here and here). "I have a hard time getting my head around it," he said. "I've got some responsibility to keep people safe in our community. And I've been really impressed with how police officers have conducted themselves and how the protestors have conducted themselves."

On the same day the call was released, Cieslewicz referred to the governor's comments as "very upsetting." On Thursday morning, the mayor published a blog post offering a more detailed response, asking, ""Really, Governor, you thought about that? The Governor of Wisconsin actually thought about planting people in the crowds who might turn these peaceful protests into something ugly?"

Now, in a new letter (PDF) released Friday, Cieslewicz asks Walker to explain who made the suggestion, what was his immediate response, if he took any steps in that direction, and why he didn't reject the suggestion on moral grounds, rather than political ones.

Cieslewicz says Walker doesn't need to respond to him directly but that "has to respond to the people of Wisconsin. It's not my place to be a moral inquisitor. But he owes a much bigger explanation to the people."

He adds that Walker's response in subsequent press conferences about the call disturb him just as much as the call itself. "He's really defended this in his press conferences. He actually defended it."

The mayor said he didn't know how far he'd push his grievance over the phone call. He said he'd give the governor a few days to respond. "If there is no response, perhaps there's some government accountability board action that might be taken, I don't know."

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