Governor Scott Walker was part of a “criminal scheme” to bypass state elections laws and coordinate fundraising and campaign activity through conservative groups during the 2011 and 2012 recall election campaigns, prosecutors allege in new documents released Thursday.
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The documents include an email from Walker to Karl Rove in which Walker writes that one of his top deputies, R.J. Johnson, who is also chief adviser to Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative group active in the recall election, would lead the coordination campaign:
While working with WiCFG [Wisconsin Club for Growth], R.J. Johnson was also coordinating with the RSLC [Republican State Leadership Committee] in at least the 2011 Wisconsin Senate recall elections. In an email sent to Karl Rove on May 4, 2011, Governor Scott Walker extolled R.J. Johnson’s importance in leading the coordination effort when he wrote:
‘Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities).’
Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz wrote that, 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. He wrote that conference calls were held between the Walker campaign, the governors association and the business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. State law prohibits such coordination.
Walker, who this morning dismissed the release of the documents as “no charges, case over,” has relied on massive donations from out-of-state benefactors during elections. These national interest groups—such as the American Legislative Exchange Council—have backed his repeated efforts to gut public education, dismantle worker rights, fund unaccountable private voucher schemes and reward Wisconsin’s wealthiest.
Of course, Walker defended many of his policies as steps to making Wisconsin a place for job growth. In 2010, Scott Walker said, “I want my Cabinet secretaries to have branded across their heads, ‘250,000 jobs.’ I want them to know their job is on the line because my job is on the line to create 250,000 jobs in the private sector.”
Now, Walker has fallen spectacularly short of that promise as Wisconsin is ninth out of ten for job creation in the Midwest.