Indiana prosecutor resigns for encouraging fake attack on Wisconsin governor

Protesters chant after the state Senate passed the budget repair bill following a meeting of a state Legislature conference committee at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Wednesday evening, March 9, 2011.
AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, M.P. King

Carlos Lam, a Republican activist and Indiana deputy prosecutor, has resigned amid revelations that he sent an email calling for a fake attack on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker designed to discredit union protesters.

Walker, a Republican, was the target of protests for his efforts to roll back many union collective bargaining rights in his state. In a Feb. 19 email uncovered by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Lam apparently told Walker he had a "good opportunity" to win public sympathy with 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 unions," read the email. It went on to say that the effort "would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions."

Lam initially denied having sent the email, which The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ) discovered "among tens of thousands" released in conjunction with an open-records lawsuit settlement. He told WCIJ he had been shopping for a minivan with his family when it was sent, and suggested his email account had been infiltrated by his political enemies.

"I am flabbergasted and would never advocate for something like this, and would like everyone to be sure that that's just not me," he said when read the email over the phone Tuesday. He added, speaking of the call for a fake attack on Walker, "jeez, that's taking it a little bit to the extreme. Jeez!"

Lam resigned as deputy prosecutor on Thursday morning, however, reportedly telling his boss he had indeed sent the email.

Last month, another Indiana official -- Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox - lost his job for calling on law enforcement to "use live ammunition" on Wisconsin protesters.

Also in February, Walker was the victim of a prank call by a liberal journalistpretending to be billionaire conservative activist David Koch. When the journalist suggested planting people among the protesters to stir up trouble, Walker responded that "we thought about that" but added that he had decided against it.

"My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems," Walker said on the call, which was secretly recorded and released on the internet.

Walker press secretary Cullen Werwie told WCIJ that Walker's office did not see Lam's email and said no one had contacted him.

"Certainly we do not support the actions suggested in (the) email. Governor Walker has said time and again that the protesters have every right to have their voice heard, and for the most part the protests have been peaceful. We are hopeful that the tradition will continue," said Werwie.

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