Jun 21, 2014

Scott Walker Runs into Arms of Fox, Hoping District Attorneys Will Just Leave

Update: Striking editorial, pedagogic in tone from the GOP-leaning editorial page of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, chides Scott Walker for his spinning and fact-free legal analysis.

Erudite and subtly jabbing Walker, the title of the editorial is "Walker should be careful what he wishes for."

Reads the Sunday editorial in part:

It's over, Gov. Scott Walker is arguing: The John Doe case looking into whether his campaign illegally coordinated with supposedly independent groups is done. Kaput. Finished.

Well, sorry, governor, but that simply isn't true.

Yes, the investigation into the conduct of the campaign and outside groups during the 2012 recalls was halted by federal Judge Rudolph Randa in May when the judge ruled that the secret investigation violated the free speech rights of its targets. Randa's decision is now before a federal appeals court, and just like the recent federal court decision ending Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, this case will continue until all appeals are exhausted.

That could be a while, which means that this story is far from over. Nor should it be.

We think Randa should have not shut down a duly commissioned state investigation into the campaigns. The prosecutors, with affinities for both parties, were simply doing their jobs: State law limits what outside groups such as the Wisconsin Club for Growth can do. Such groups are supposed to remain independent of campaigns; they cannot strategize with candidates.

Randa's decision was stunning for its overreach. He ordered the investigation shut down and found that only "express advocacy" — that is, explicitly urging people to vote for or against a candidate — was subject to state limits and control.

But coordination between campaigns and outside groups has long been illegal in Wisconsin for good reason. It's in the state statutes and was upheld by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in a 1999 decision involving a state Supreme Court race. State election regulators later reaffirmed that a campaign cannot coordinate with an outside group, and on that basis, John Doe investigators proceeded to look into how the recall elections were conducted.
There Can Be No Whitewash in Wisconsin. People Have to Got Know Whether or Not Their Governor Is a Crook

In October 2013 a story broke that the John Doe probe had "(spread) to five Wisconsin counties," and evidence was leading investigators to look into possible violations of state law during the 2011-12 Recall races.

The investigation was revealed to be led by Francis Schmitz, a well-known Republican jurist who was on George W. Bush's shortlist for nomination to the US Atty of the Eastern District of Wisconsin in 2001. (Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, October 21, 2013)

Scott Walker had a response to the piece that he communicated before going back into hiding: "We expected that with a new Democrat candidate for governor in the race that there would be stories like this along the way," said Walker on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's October story on the John Doe investigation. (Murray. WPR)

So, the Republican-led investigation is simply a concocted story to help the expected Democratic nominee for governor (primary election is in August 2014), and stories breaking about the John Doe investigation are not true, is this what Walker was saying?

Walker wouldn't say, preferring innuendo to candor.

But Walker's quick comment-and-hide strategy made it plain Walker knew this probe was coming and where the investigation was heading.

When the blockbuster story broke on Thursday, June 19 that bipartisan Wisconsin prosecutors allege in documents that Scott Walker "was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators fend off recall elections during 2011 and '12," (Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice and Dave Umhoefer in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Walker's first response was to run to Fox and Friends, and not to face the people of Wisconsin in a no-hold-barred, question-and-answer session addressing allegations of criminality of a Wisconsin governor that have no precedent in Wisconsin history.

Walker speaking in a more rapid cadence than employed in his usual evasions did not repeat the  language made public that Walker was at the center of a "criminal scheme," but pretended that the accusations from the John Doe probe did not exist and that the matter had already been "resolved."

This would come as news to the five prosecutors, the special prosecutor and the attorneys working to appeal an adverse decision in appellate court.

Walker implies these five district attorneys and the special prosecutor are just pawns of big-government special interests.

Said Walker on Fox and Friends to Co-host Steve Doocy:

"This is one of those where the media jumps on this; some on the left spin this; you get our detractors out there trying to claim there's something more than there is. ... This is a prime example of what happens when you take on the big-government special interests. They're looking for ways to come at us. They'll continue to do it. They did it, you know, two years ago in the recall election. They're going to do it again now; we got another tough election this Fall. And so, they're going to come at it with just about everything out there."

Scott Walker is alleged to have been at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among 12 rightwing groups to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators fend off recall elections, in violation of campaign laws intended to insulate special interests and campaigns for public office.

This sounds pretty big to me.

Why doesn't Scott Walker come before a town hall-type meeting, say at Camp Randall, take questions until the audience is exhausted and clear the air?

I'm betting Walker won't.

Following is video of an excellent segment at Politics Nation, and a piece by United Wisconsin, Failing to Prosecute Illegal Coordination in John Doe Case Threatens Legitimacy of State Campaign Finance Law.

From United Wisconsin:

MADISON, WI – Based on evidence provided in Exhibit C of the John Doe documents unsealed Thursday, failing to prosecute illegal campaign coordination exposes a grave threat to the public’s trust Wisconsin elections by undermining state campaign finance safeguards in place to prevent corruption.

“The unsealed John Doe documents reveal a clear case of the corruption of Wisconsin elections at the hands of Scott Walker’s campaign and outside conservatives groups. The failure to bring charges in Walker’s “criminal scheme” puts in jeopardy Wisconsin campaign finance laws which were put in place to ensure the integrity of the electoral process,” said United Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Subeck.

Prosecutors laid out the case that Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of a “criminal scheme” to coordinate illegal campaign fundraising among his campaign and conservative groups to fund the running of phony “issue advocacy” campaigns clearly designed for the direct political benefit of Walker’s campaign and Republican legislators facing recall elections in 2011-12.

Despite what appears to be clear evidence of illegal coordination, a recent stay issued by Federal Judge Rudolf Randa halting further investigation leaves Wisconsin campaign finance laws governing disclosure of campaign spending unenforceable and stripped of legitimacy.

According Francis D. Schmitz, special prosecutor in the John Doe investigation “Movants argue that “coordination” of political activities that do not arguably express advocacy cannot be a crime under Wisconsin law. These arguments fail to recognize or misinterpret Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules, and G.A.B. formal opinions. Movants have also ignored controlling Wisconsin case law. Indeed, in their submissions, movants – FOSW, Citizens for a Strong America, Inc. (CFSA) Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Inc. (WMC) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce-Issues Mobilization Council (WMC-IMC) and Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) appear to have tacitly admitted to violating Wisconsin law.”

“Failing to prosecute what is clearly a violation of state campaign finance law leaves our elections more vulnerable than ever to this type of alleged illegal coordination and erodes any sense in eyes of voters that Wisconsin elections are truly fair,” Subeck said.
United Wisconsin is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing progressive values, strengthening democracy, and ensuring every Wisconsinite has a voice. For more information, visit our website at www.unitedwisconsin.com.

1 comment:

  1. The people of Wisconsin are tired of hearing Walker’s well-rehearsed answers to predictable softball questions about his or his staff’s wrongdoing and his own failure to make good on campaign promises.

    Other than ambition, what does Walker bring to the table? The one and only ‘new’ idea he ever had – WEDC – is a complete and utter failure and he can’t blame Doyle, Obama, or Burke.

    As far as potential criminal activity, ask yourselves: Who cheats? (Remember - Walker was accused of campaign cheating while a student at Marquette).

    It’s people who feel that they aren’t good enough to compete fairly. That should give insight into Walker and his talent selection process. He’s not interested in high-performers, he wants to win, and doesn’t care how he does it or who gets hurt – a trait he shares with other narcissistic personalities. In fact, Walker’s approach to governing is like Ted Bundy’s approach to dating.

    Ambition without ability is worse than worthless, and Walker’s already dirtier than Nixon was when he was forced OUT of office. http://goo.gl/4GsSrh