Sunday, February 23, 2014

Walkergate: It's Not John Doe Walker Has To Fear

Mother Jones has a pretty good take of Scott Walker's legal liabilities regarding the Walkergate investigations:
But there is an investigation that should keep Walker up at night: a second John Doe investigation reportedly focused on his 2012 recall campaign. (After Walker targeted public-sector unions following his 2010 election as governor, labor and its allies launched a petition drive to throw Walker out of office via recall election.) John Doe probes are conducted in secret so the public can't know all the details, but leaked documents suggest investigators are looking at possible illegal coordination between Walker's recall campaign and independent groups that spent millions of dollars to keep him in office. Here's how the progressive Center for Media and Democracy wrote about the investigation recently:

The John Doe probe began in August of 2012 and is examining possible "illegal campaign coordination between (name redacted), a campaign committee, and certain special interest groups," according to an unsealed filing in the case. Sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the redacted committee is the Walker campaign, Friends of Scott Walker. Campaign filings show that Walker spent $86,000 on legal fees in the second half of 2013.

A John Doe is similar to a grand jury investigation, but in front of a judge rather than a jury, and is conducted under strict secrecy orders. Wisconsin's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unsealed some documents last week as it rejected a challenge to the probe filed by three of the unnamed "special interest groups" that had received subpoenas in the investigation and issued a ruling allowing the investigation to move forward.

The special interest groups under investigation include Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is led by a top Walker advisor and friend, R.J. Johnson, and which spent at least $9.1 million on "issue ads" supporting Walker and legislative Republicans during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Another group is Citizens for a Strong America, which was entirely funded by Wisconsin Club for Growth in 2011 and 2012 and acted as a conduit for funding other groups that spent on election issue ads; CSA's president is John Connors, who previously worked for David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and is part of the leadership at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity (publishers of and Wisconsin Reporter). Other groups reportedly receiving subpoenas include AFP, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Republican Governors Association.
Unlike the first John Doe probe, this newer one seems to have Walker's political operation in its sights. This ought to have Walker and his aides far more concerned than some old emails from his Milwaukee County days.
Unbelievably, there are some who feel that these few emails would have been enough to overcome all the money Walker was spending on his legal defense fund. The fact that this has turned into something much bigger and is likely to get bigger yet - read federal charges - is well worth patience on our part. Just the Rindfleisch documents, which are a fraction of the total amount of incriminating documents, should keep him hopping until the Sons of Doe get their day. And even the documents we have been given access to are causing some of Walker's defenders a moment to pause and wonder if this is the battle they want to fight.


  1. Thanks Capper, imho, Ms. Burke (anyone else who wants to run in the Dem primary) and all other Wisconsin Democrats should be very seriously considering using the "i" word, "impeachment." Impeachment is not a decision about guilt. It's an investigative process which (not an expert on Wisconsin law) should be taking place in the Assembly. Those are the kinds of talking points that sell newspapers and imho Dems need to start employing them. More importantly, however, it's the job of the legislative branch to provide oversight on the Executive. As always, there's a possible downside. Republican allies of Walker in the Assembly could use an impeachment to queer the current investigations. It could also give Walker a better excuse to dodge questions. I think it's worth the risk, I don't think the GOP Assembly would do it this close to November. If you're buying that, it's a smart move for Dems.

    1. Picture Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos tapping Michelle Litjens to lead the Walker impeachment investigation.

      John Doe is the only way to investigate a sitting governor whose Party controls the legislature.

  2. I would encourage all readers of this blog to start sending links to Al Jazeer's Chicago bureau. They don't seem to be afraid to look into this kind of stuff. They actually just brought down a California representative.

    Couldn't hurt.

  3. Keep the Washington Post reporter on this story in the loop, too. He brought down the Virginia governor.

  4. A bit tangential, but these emails make a great case for Walker's war on women:

    1. Fired a publicly employed female Medical Doctor for modeling while she was a student (you also should find this woman and mention the shortage of providers in Wisconsin).

    2. Refused to investigate rape at the County Mental Health Complex.

    3. Referred to his own Lt. Governor (Lt. Gov. Kleefish) as "a one women circus", "radioactive", "not worth their time", "the bane of [Walker's] existence", hoping she'd "topple over in her high heels", and stated that they were "really beginning to dislike her". (emphasize "one woman", "high heels", and "dislike HER"). Also ask if Walker still feels this way.

    4. Signed a bill forcing women to be vaginally probed prior to receiving certain health care treatments.

    5. Thought single mothers who received assistance were "hilarious".

    1. I pray every day that I have a seat front and center when Walker gets hauled off to jail. Hope he gets a big warm welcome there by all the people he and his staff ripped on over the years and all the guards he screwed over won't lift a finger to help. Karma...

  5. What I find incredible is that not one media member has thought to ask Governor Walker if he has continued his use of private emails with his current state staff and campaign staff to circumvent open records laws as it appears he did while heading county government. Or at least have some JS reporter make a very broad open records request for state email that would encompass what he's been doing on a private system.

  6. Walker was asked on Fox news if he used private email and he would not answer. Walker is so awful - he makes Nixon look saintly. The thing that makes me the most upset is how he is how he lies and even gets a little cocky about it. He is so amoral - I really don't know how evil a person has to be to do the things Walker has done, hide the deaths Walker has hid, stab a grieving Mother in the back after she watched her son die...and the list goes on. He is possibly one of the worst. most evil people on the planet. Then again...he is a sociopath...which explains a lot. I pray the media does not let up on Walker - I hope they make him accountable for all the evil things he has done, people he has screwed over, deaths he has covered up and disadvantaged people he has discarded. No mercy should be given to Walker when he is caught - make an example of him.