INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana prosecutor said one of his deputies resigned Thursday after admitting he sent an email to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suggesting the Republican fake an attack on himself to discredit the public employee unions protesting his plan to strip them of nearly all collective bargaining rights.
Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said Carlos Lam resigned in a phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday after acknowledging that he sent the Feb. 19 email to Walker suggesting "the situation in WI presents a good opportunity for what's called 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 public unions," Lam wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Cooper said Lam initially denied sending the email and said someone had hacked into his email account. But Lam later acknowledged he had written the message, and resigned hours before the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported the contents publicly Thursday.
"He wanted to come clean, I guess, and said he is the one who sent that email," Cooper told the Daily Journal newspaper in Franklin, south of Indianapolis.
A message left by the AP at a telephone listing for Lam was not immediately returned Thursday.
Lam's email was sent amid daily protests at the Wisconsin Capitol against Walker's plan to take away public employees' rights to collectively bargain for anything except wages no higher than inflation.
"We cannot have the public unions hold the taxpayer hostage with their outrageous demands," said the email, which urged Walker to "stay strong."
Lam is the second Indiana prosecutor to lose his job over volatile comments about the Wisconsin protests. Jeffrey Cox, a deputy attorney general, was fired last month after tweeting that police should use live ammunition against labor protesters.
Wisconsin Republicans eventually used a procedural maneuver to pass the collective bargaining measure without Democrats who had fled to block a vote and Walker has signed it in to law. But a judge has issued a temporary restraining order to block the law from taking effect while courts consider a lawsuit alleging the Republicans' move violated the state's open meetings law and constitution.