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Wisconsin Supreme Court Ends Investigation into Walker's Corrupt Campaign Financing

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Thursday, 16 July 2015 in Wisconsin

walkerProsecutors were looking into whether Walker broke state law in his 2012 recall battle by urging major donors to circumnavigate crucial donation limits by giving to outside political action groups. Decision suspect as four majority justices also received $10 million in campaign money from those same groups.


MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-2 on Thursday to end a John Doe investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s coordination of dark money during his 2012 recall campaign.

Wisconsin prosecutors were looking into whether Walker broke state law in his 2012 recall battle by urging major donors to support his campaign by giving to outside groups to circumnavigate crucial donation limits he faced.

But Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled the investigation was “overly broad” and infringed on First Amendment rights of free speech. The court’s justices, who are elected every 10 years in statewide elections and are themselves dependent upon campaign donations from the same groups, split over the effect of a pair of recent federal rulings which opened the floodgates for money in federal campaigns.

Several watchdog groups, including many who have hounded Walker throughout his tenure, pointed out that the four justices who ruled in favor of Walker and the outside groups supporting him also received $10 million in campaign money themselves from those same groups.

matt-rothschild“It is not only regrettable; it is downright dangerous,” said Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The decision itself is corrupt, Rothschild added, since it was contaminated by outside spending on behalf of the conservative justices by the very groups that were being investigated.

scotrossScot Ross, executive director of the liberal One Wisconsin Now, said that the conflict of interest among the justices was part of a system “run amok”.

“If this exact scenario were occurring in another country, Scott Walker would be calling for boots on the ground to save democracy,” Ross said in a statement.

But the Governor seemed to know the fix was in from the beginning. “We said all along that the courts would ultimately rule on the side of the original circuit court judge,” Walker said Thursday, during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “As folks in Wisconsin will tell you, I’ve gone through these battles so many times I don’t get up or too down, I’m pretty even keeled on all this.”

“The Wisconsin State Supreme Court has further embarrassed itself with this ruling,” Rothschild said. “And it is draining the public’s confidence in the integrity of our courts.”

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Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

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