Most checked in 2015: Scott Walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced his candidacy for president on July 13, 2015 in Waukesha, Wis. (Rick Wood photo)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced his candidacy for president on July 13, 2015 in Waukesha, Wis. (Rick Wood photo)

Owing largely to his short-lived presidential campaign, as well as the months of anticipation leading up to it, Gov. Scott Walker was fact checked more than anyone else by PolitiFact Wisconsin during 2015.

It wasn’t even close.

Walker was highly checkable, of course, long before he formally announced his bid for the Republican nomination in July. But his entry into the race, as well as his quick though brief ascension in the polls, attracted a national audience interested in what he was saying.

Here we review the five Walker-related fact checks published in 2015 that got the most page-views during the year. The most-clicked was a check on a statement about Walker, while the others were on statements the governor made.

1. Facebook posts: Scott Walker "had a 2.3 GPA when he was asked to leave Marquette University for cheating."

Rating: False.

Many people get political news from Facebook, so from time to time we take on claims made on Facebook or on other social media, such as Twitter. In August, shortly after Walker made his White House run official, we checked a post about his time in college that was shared on Facebook.

Walker left the Milwaukee school as a senior for a job with the Red Cross, but has not released his transcripts, which has left some to question what happened.

There was no evidence, however, to prove the grade point average, "was asked to leave" or the cheating parts of the claim.

2. Walker: Fundamental changes made to language describing the Wisconsin Idea in the University of Wisconsin System's mission statement were the result of a "drafting error."

Rating: Pants on Fire.

The governor made this claim in a tweet in February, the same day news broke that language included in his state budget proposal would fundamentally change the "Wisconsin Idea" -- a mission statement for the University of Wisconsin System that had been in place for more than a century.

This was no drafting error.

We found that Walker’s administration had insisted to UW System officials on making the changes, giving detailed instructions on passages to be removed from state law. And eventually Walker himself acknowledged that the UW System had objected to the changes before his budget was put into final form.

3. Walker: "I unsealed my records" at Marquette University.

Rating: False.

Also in February, while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C. with other potential White House contenders, Walker suggested there was nothing murky about his time at Marquette.

But in fact, Walker had taken only the very limited step of authorizing the school to confirm that he was in "good standing" during his time there and that he voluntarily withdrew. No records have been released.

4. Walker says he "paid one dollar for" a sweater at Kohl’s.

Rating: True.

Campaigning in March in New Hampshire, Walker bragged up his frugality while talking about shopping at his favorite department store. We found that with discounts, "Kohl’s cash" and other coupons, he could’ve gotten the sweater he wore that day for a buck.

5. Walker: "Documents released from the Soviet Union" show "the Soviet Union started treating" President Ronald Reagan more seriously after Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.

Rating: Pants on Fire.

Also in campaign mode, in January, Walker was asked on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" program about the importance of foreign policy experience.

There is a view, echoed by Walker, that the 1981 firings caught the Soviets’ attention. But Walker cited no Soviet documents showing that the firings made the Soviets treat Reagan more seriously. And experts, several of whom felt Walker’s claim was outrageous, told us they were not aware that any such documents exist.