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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did not try to “raid” Wisconsin’s retirement system.

A satirical news article, which claimed Walker hired convicted Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen to oversee a raid on the state employee retirement system to help balance the state budget, sparked the false allegation circulated in email chains between 2011 and 2012.

Some of the fears surrounding Walker’s possible plans for pensions were rooted in real events, namely his controversial 2011 Budget Repair Bill mandating that most public employees pay larger contributions to their pensions. 

Public employees did have less take-home pay, but Walker ultimately did not make additional substantial adjustments to the pension system, such as changing it from a guaranteed pension plan to a 401(k) used by many private employers — another false rumor. 

The Wisconsin Retirement System has been lauded as one of the best-performing and best funded in the country.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


PolitiFact: A chain e-mail claims Gov. Scott Walker hired convicted Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen to raid the state employee retirement system to balance the state budget

PolitiFact: Chain email says Gov. Scott Walker supports a move to abolish the state retirement system and reduce pensions

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker plans no changes to state retirement system

Slate: Scott Walker lost because his war on the public sector came back to bite him.

Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds: Our Wisconsin retirement system: Strong for Wisconsin

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.