MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin ranked 37th in private sector job creation last year, lagging behind the national average, based on the latest numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Newly unsealed legal documents filed by the State of Wisconsin last December allege that key aides to Republican Gov. Scott Walker illegally coordinated campaign money and programs between several different groups. We took the information in the filing and diagrammed the alleged relationship.
At the center of all of the allegations are two aides to Walker: R. J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl. “For all practical purposes,” the document states, the organization Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) “‘was’ R. J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl.” It was formed as a 501(c)(4) non-profit, as was a sister organization, Citizens for Strong America. Johnson and Jordahl created CFSA; Johnson’s wife was its treasurer.
Johnson and Jordahl also worked as consultants for “Friends of Scott Walker”, the campaign committee defending Walker against a 2012 effort to recall him. Wisconsin state law (and most election law) prohibits agents of a campaign from coordinating with outside groups. This is usually an effort to maintain campaign finance laws: If a campaign could send staff to go tell outside groups, who don’t have any limits on the size of contributions they can accept, then campaign limits wouldn’t serve any purpose.
State prosecutors allege that this is essentially what Johnson and Jordahl did. Fundraisers raised money for both WiCFG and the Walker campaign. WiCFG provided 99.99 percent of CFSA’s funding. CFSA gave money to groups doing work on absentee ballots. WiCFG also gave money to a trade group that ran ads on behalf of Walker (and against opponents).
Johnson was also allegedly involved in either trying to get other organizations involved in the campaign work or directly consulting with other groups on other campaigns, like the Republican Senate Leadership Committee (indicated by the dashed circle at the top of the chart). The documents note that the national Club for Growth organization “raised concerns about coordination or interaction between WiCFG and FOSW as early as 2009.”
Last month, the judge that unsealed the new documents ruled that the probe into the Walker coordination claims should be halted. That decision is being appealed.
(Politico) Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker abruptly reserved $250,000 worth of TV air time on Thursday, hours after court documents were made public showing prosecutors claimed he was in the middle of a ‘criminal scheme’ to coordinate fundraising by outside groups during recall elections in 2011 and 2012, two media-buying sources told POLITICO….
Poor Scooter. You don’t start bailing unless there’s water in the boat — and he just bought a quarter of million dollars worth of bail buckets. That does not say good things about the seaworthiness of the SS Walker.
(New York Times) Prosecutors in Wisconsin assert that Gov. Scott Walker placed himself in the middle of an elaborate effort to illegally coordinate fund-raising between his campaign and numerous conservative groups during efforts to recall him two years ago, according to records of their investigation unsealed on Thursday.
The allegations by five county district attorneys, released as part of a federal lawsuit over the investigation into Mr. Walker, his aides and the conservative groups, suggest that Mr. Walker’s campaign expressly coordinated with the outside groups, including Wisconsin Club for Growth, to the point that campaign advisers also controlled some of the groups.
Gov. Scott Walker said Friday that he won’t back away from key allies amid a continuing secret John Doe investigation.
Walker also expressed surprise with a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that criticized alleged settlement talks between the Walker campaign and special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.
"I’m certainly not going to undermine people who share my same beliefs and I’m certainly not going to undermine anyone’s First Amendment rights. I’m frankly kind of shocked for anyone to suggest that," Walker said after delivering a keynote address at Hope Christian High School senior signing day.
Here’s the thing though: Walker’s official statement on the subject is pretty weasel-wordy.
The Walker campaign issued a two-sentence statement Thursday to deny it was in settlement talks.
"I just reminded people neither I nor my campaign is a party to that (federal) lawsuit," he said. "So in terms of a settlement or a deal, we have no legal standing to even be involved in that one way or the other. So a lot of people were speculating about something that’s just not possible for us to do."
He’s talking about the lawsuit by the Club for Growth to shut down the probe — and that’s not what anyone is talking about. The Wall Street Journal reported that Walker was cutting a deal to get out from under the corruption probe itself.
He’s being accused of one thing, but he’s denying a straw man. It’s like answering a question about a drunk driving charge by denying you were speeding — i.e., it’s not any kind of answer at all.