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Scott Walker's New Gig: Urging States to Call a Constitutional Convention

A national group says its campaign to convene an unprecedented U.S. constitutional convention to balance the federal budget has a new leader: former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

By Mark Sommerhauser

A national group says its campaign to convene an unprecedented U.S. constitutional convention to balance the federal budget has a new leader: former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The Center for State-led National Debt Solutions on Monday announced Walker will serve as its national honorary chairman.

It marks one of the first efforts by Walker to re-enter the political fray since his November election loss to Gov. Tony Evers.

In 2017, Wisconsin became the 28th state to request an Article V convention -- so named for the article of the U.S. Constitution that sanctions the process.

According to the Constitution, two-thirds of the states (34) must request such a convention for one to occur. Walker will lead an effort to get six more states to make the request. Any constitutional amendments proposed during a convention would have to be ratified by three-fourths of states (38).

The center will focus on 10 states to make a convention a reality, according to a statement.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson declined in an email Monday to say how much Walker will be paid for the job or whether it will involve lobbying.

"Gov. Walker will help guide the overall 10-state strategy and raise national awareness of the balanced budget amendment effort," Evenson said.

The center's president, Loren Enns, said in a statement that adding Walker to the effort will make an Article V convention a reality.

"With Governor Walker's involvement, the national campaign for a balanced budget amendment finally has the high-profile leader it has lacked," Enns said.

The concept of an Article V convention is controversial, with proponents calling it perhaps the only way to rein in federal debt and deficits. Critics fear a "runaway" convention at which other far-reaching proposals could surface -- even ones that undermine basic constitutional freedoms.

Walker said in the statement that projections show the fast-growing federal debt threatens to claim as much as 25 percent of federal revenue within the decade. Yearly federal deficits -- which grew under President George W. Bush and increased further under President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Great Recession and then declined  -- have begun increasing sharply under President Donald Trump.

"Where Washington has failed, the states must step up and lead -- using their constitutional authority to solve the problem," Walker said in the statement.

(c)2019 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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