02 June 2015

I'm Shocked! Shocked! To Find That Gambling Is Going on This Establishment!

Scott Walker is under investigation for possible illegal coordination between his campaign, and so-called "independent" campaign groups.

Well, the prosecutor who is investigating the matter, it is called a "John Doe" proceeding under Wisconsin law, but this is being challenged in court.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is to here this challenge, but it now appears that some of the judges in question appear to be involved in the scheme:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing an investigation into whether his 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated with nonprofit groups that spent money to support him. Campaign finance laws prohibit “coordination” because they would allow candidates to run shadow campaigns outside of campaign finance law. The Center for Media & Democracy’s PRWatch said, “Prosecutors gathered evidence of Walker secretly raising millions of dollars for the supposedly ‘independent’ nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), with the express purpose of bypassing campaign finance disclosure laws.” The secret donations were revealed to include money from a mining company that received permission to open a mine soon after Walker won reelection.

The investigation is at a preliminary stage, called a John Doe proceeding under Wisconsin law, which determines whether charges are filed. PRWatch said that “Walker and his allies have fought the probe not by denying coordination, but by claiming the rules don’t apply to so-called ‘issue ads’ that stop short of expressly telling viewers how to vote.” The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering one of the many lawsuits filed to stop the investigation.

In a newly released court filing, the prosecutor in the case raised the question of whether one or two of the justices hearing the case are implicated in the same kind of scheme. Two groups suspected of coordinating with Walker’s campaign have also spent $10 million to elect the four-justice conservative majority. The prosecutor’s heavily redacted brief also suggests that two justices, or, at least, their campaigns, may have committed the same offense that is at the heart of the Walker investigation—coordinating with dark money groups to get reelected.

Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz—a Republican who voted for Walker in 2012—noted that the groups “had significant involvement in the election of particular justices,” though the document redacts the names of the justices and the groups. (The suspects in a grand jury or John Doe proceeding remain anonymous, unless and until charges are filed.) While the justices are not named, the brief refers to the justices benefiting from money spent by John Doe groups to support the reelection of the justices, and the groups have spent money to support the election of all four members of the court’s conservative majority.

Schmitz’s brief also referred to a “history of control, collaboration and coordination” between the groups and “political campaign committees that may potentially include judicial candidates.” The brief describes persons who worked for both a supreme court campaign and the John Doe groups. A redacted portion quotes an email that seems to provide evidence that a group was “actively involved” in a justice’s reelection campaign. Other redacted portions seem to describe contacts and “close connections” between the justice’s campaign and John Doe groups, before concluding:

Justice David Prosser was up for reelection in 2011, when Walker faced a recall election. At the time, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was hearing a legal challenge to Walker’s controversial law restricting collective bargaining rights. Both sides in the debate—unions and big business—spent big in the supreme court election. Two of the John Doe groups spent around $2.5 million to reelect Justice Prosser—much more than the justice’s own campaign.
Anyone wanna take money on whether David Prosser, who has been alleged to have physically assaulted a fellow justice in the court offices, is going to recuse himself?

I'll take 5:1 odds that he won't recuse himself.


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