Jun 20, 2014

Two Governors Face Scandals, Only One Governor Faces the People

Scott Walker avoids questions as DAs
say Walker is at center of massive
criminal scheme to illegally funnel
$ 10s of millions
Update II: Chris Christie Says He'll Campaign for Scott Walker at the Appropriate Time (Arco, NJ.com)

This would be before Scott Walker is formally charged with a crime.

Notes John Amato at Crooks and Liars:

Gov. Chris Christie says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is "a good man" and voiced support for his fellow Republican, who faces allegations he took part in a nationwide criminal scheme to coordinate fundraising with conservative groups.

Christie defended Scott Walker this evening after greeting patrons of a New Hampshire restaurant during a campaign stop for a Republican gubernatorial hopeful. Christie dismissed the allegations against Walker, a potential GOP presidential candidate, as nothing more than attacks from enemies.
"Listen, we all understand that the more you try to bring change to your individual state, and that change starts to sweep the country, the more you’re going to be attacked by your opponents," said Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

'That’s just something you’re going to have to deal with in this job," he said. "But I’ve already communicated with Scott today, he’s doing well. I completely support him and I look forward to going to Wisconsin and campaigning for him at the appropriate time."
The thesis advanced by Walker and Christie remains: Walker secretly planned to destroy the right to collectively bargain and gut environmental protections of water (uncontroversial), so the five John Doe District Attorneys (two of whom are Republicans) and the Republican special investigator are retaliating and attacking Walker, alleging a contrived "criminal scheme," because Walker-initiated "change (has started) to sweep the country."

Interesting theory out of two guys from whom most people will no longer buy bridges.

Love to see this Wisconsin-DAs-are-corrupted-by-big-government line voiced by Walker in front of a citizens' town hall meeting.

Update: Whether Scott Walker decides to turn around and face the people of Wisconsin, something qualitatively different is happening after this latest release of John Doe documents—the story is penetrating local broadcast and print (old) media. See WDIO-TV (serving Duluth, Superior and northern Wisconsin) Prosecutors: Gov. Walker Part of 'Criminal Scheme,' and National media pounce on release of John Doe II documents (Joyce, The Capital Times).

One thing to bear in mind after Judge Frank Easterbrook of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit shreds Judge Randa's opinion, John Doe II is a law enforcement investigation conducted by Constitutional Officers (under the Wisconsin Constitution) acting under the specific authority of Wisconsin's John Doe statute that Walker and others desperately are trying to stop. Now, we know why.

Wisconsin John Does are conducted under the statute that is a reformist initiative, written to ensure an orderly and fair investigation.

As attorney Marcus J. Berghan writes: "As the investigation in Milwaukee County has shown, the John Doe proceeding may lead to criminal charges. Those charges need not be directly related to the complaint that started the proceeding. When complete, the judge will determine whether probable cause exists to charge any additional individuals with a crime."
Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey face legal-political crises as reports broke yesterday revealing escalating criminal investigations placing both pols near or at the center of criminal conspiracies.

"Indictments against four Christie cronies are near certain, sources say," reads an exclusive in Esquire (Scott Raab and Lisa Brennan). Christie has held over 100 town hall listening sessions and open call-in radio appearances, apparently taking all questions and offering his unvarnished view.

This accessibility would be a shocking departure for Scott Walker's in-the-bubble communication strategy.

"Prosecutors in Wisconsin assert that Gov. Scott Walker was part of an elaborate effort to illegally coordinate fund-raising and spending between his campaign and conservative groups during efforts to recall him and several state senators two years ago, according to court filings unsealed Thursday." (Davey, Confessore, New York Times)

Walker issues quick one-answer, unresponsive lines to non-GOP press, refusing to hold even one town hall-style listening session.

The gravity of the charges, constituting the reasonable suspicion predicating the John Doe investigation, are pooh-poohed by Walker who says the bipartisan investigation is partisan, and the heavily criticized U.S. District Judge, Rudolph Randa (who temporarily halted the John Doe probe in a results-oriented, contrived order and opinion), is "independent."

The $ tens of millions raised and apparently illegally coordinated is on a massive scale.

"Beginning in March 2011, there were 'open and express discussions' of the need to coordinate the activities of entities like Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin Club for Growth, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Republican Governors Association, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz wrote. Conference calls were held between the Walker campaign, the governors association and the business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, he wrote."

The scope of the criminal scheme under investigation 'is expansive,' Schmitz wrote. 'It includes criminal violations of multiple elections laws, including violations of Filing a False Campaign Report or Statement and Conspiracy to File a False Campaign Report or Statement.' (Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice and Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) [See also Lisa Kaiser, Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, and Philip Bump, Washington Post]

David Koch told a reporter that he took credit for the fact the Republicans maintained control of the Wisconsin legislature in the Senate recall elections held in August 2011. Koch has given $ millions to the group, Americans for Prosperity and openly acknowledges his support for Americans for Prosperity and its activities in Wisconsin. It remains to be seen whether Koch was involved in Walker's scheme to funnel money.

"The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Democrat District Attorney by me or by my campaign is categorically false," said Walker. So why avoid the people of Wisconsin?

Walker's statement, though short, is full of errors.

Actually, there are five district attorneys, and two of them are Republicans. [One would hope this fact would follow reporting of Walker's statement, but this has not been the case.] And there has been no allegation of partisanship made by the presiding judge overseeing the five prosecutors.

As for the investigators' statements being categorically false, how about Walker holds a long question-and answer session, if Walker is truly innocent?

Even as Scott Walker refuses to face the Wisconsin people and offer an explanation for his role in the conspiracy, Walker's true constituents work to shut down the probe.

For an excellent summary of events, see The Chris Hayes show segment below:

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