Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Must Be Nice to Have a Lobbyist for a Dad

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM

While my father's rules of fighting have been valuable to me on occasion, there have been few tangible economic benefits to my bloodline. These things happen, we can't all be Kennedys or children of Will Smith, so I've learned to be ok with it, but then I read about the awesome gig Brian Deschane has in the Wisconsin state government and I can feel the bitterness rising in my soul:

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker's administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?

It's all in the family.

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year's governor's race.

The group's political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor's successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker's campaign over the past two years.

Total donations: $121,652.

That's big-time backing from the homebuilders.

The younger Deschane didn't respond to questions about his job.

But his father said he doesn't think his group's financial support of the first-term Republican helped his son in his job search.

"He got the position himself," said Jerry Deschane, who returned to the trade group in September after a hiatus during which he worked as an independent lobbyist for many groups, including the builders association. "I didn't get it for him."

[...]

According to his résumé, Deschane, 27, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, worked for two Republican lawmakers - then-Sens. David Zien and Cathy Stepp, now the natural resources secretary - and helped run a legislative and a losing congressional campaign. He held part-time posts with the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Business Council until being named to his first state gig earlier this year.

Deschane's father said that during the gubernatorial contest he might have reminded Keith Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager and now chief of staff, that his son "was out there and available."

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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