Jul 16, 2015

GOP Court Halts Law Enforcement Probe of Scott Walker and Criminal Scheme

Republican justices stepped up aggressively for Scott Walker today, and stomped on the rule of law

Update: Alice Ollstein notes the four GOP justices ordered that those working on the case "permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation." (ThinkProgress)

See also Wisconsin Supreme Court Ends Walker Investigation, Eviscerating State’s Campaign Finance Limits and Raising Questions about Judicial Impartiality (Brennen Center for Justice) and Corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court kills John Doe Investigation. As well the Capital Times John Doe ruling dangerous for democracy and the Center for Media and Democracy's analysis.
How about those not working on the case? This information belongs in the public record. One can hope for a leak in the tradition of Ellsberg to hold up Walker's illegal actions to a public light.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is a corrupt institution on which state Republicans and Scott Walker rely to give a judicial imprimatur to unconstitutional and lawless action.

Today, as expected the Supreme Court halted a law enforcement probe of Scott Walker and rightwingers through numerous consolidated cases (Beck, Wisconsin State Journal).

The latest and long-predicted decision by the Court halts the bipartisan John Doe probe investigating what court documents have shown to be a criminal scheme by Scott Walker and an array of rightwing groups to illegally coordinate fundraising (Marley, Bice and Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

"The expected decision in the case, ... before the state's highest court, [took] a blowtorch to what remains of Wisconsin's post-Watergate campaign finance rules," writes Mary Bottari in PRWatch in a piece run the day before today's decisions were announced.

Wisconsin Republicans are nothing if not consistent in protecting each other, no matter that an entire branch of government—the judiciary branch—has lost credibility as an impartial institution and now reaches "pre-determined conclusion(s) not based on the facts and the law," as noted by former Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in Ozanne v. Jeff Fitzgerald, Scott Fitzgerald, Ellis and Suder (2011) that gutted Wisconsin's Open Meetings law. (Mal Contends)

There are other law enforcement bodies that can still investigate Walker's clear criminal behavior, and the John Doe judge can release court documents at his discretion under the John Doe statute. Perhaps Scott Walker will call for the release of the probe's records if Scott Walker has nothing to hide

No surprises, just corruption

In recent years, the four GOP justices have voted against rule-of-law justices to enact Court rules favorable to the Republican Party and to outright promote corruption.

In July 2010, the four GOP justices enacted a rule reading in part, "a judge shall not be required to recuse himself or herself in a proceeding based solely on any endorsement or the judge’s campaign committee’s receipt of a lawful campaign contribution, including a campaign contribution from an individual or entity involved in the proceeding." (p.2)

Republican special interest groups petitioned the Court to change the recusal rule.

"In 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court's four-justice conservative majority voted to adopt new rules stating that the fact of a campaign contribution alone would not require recusal -- but the rules were literally written by none other than (Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce) WMC, as well as the Wisconsin Realtors Association, which gave over $1 million to Wisconsin Club for Growth in its 2010-2011 fiscal year. In other words, WMC wrote the rules requiring that the justices WMC has elected not recuse in a case involving WMC's election activities." (PRWatch)

Each of the four Republican justices on the Court—Justice David Prosser, Justice Michael Gableman, Justice Annette Ziegler and Justice Patience Roggensack—were elected with money by the same groups now appearing before the Court.

"Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) played a key role in electing the four justices in the majority, in most cases spending more than the candidates themselves."

A bipartisan group of prosecutors allege that the Walker campaign illegally coordinated fundraising and expenditures with WiCFG and WMC (and perhaps other groups) during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Representatives of the Walker campaign, WiCFG, and WMC could face criminal liability if prosecutors find that they conspired to evade campaign finance disclosure requirements and contribution limits." (PRWatch)

Republican justices stepped up aggressively for Scott Walker today, and stomped on the rule of law.

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