Scott Walker Is a Campaign Criminal, Say Prosecutors

They say he raised funds illegally with conservative groups
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2014 4:39 PM CDT
Scott Walker Is a Campaign Criminal, Say Prosecutors
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took part in a nationwide criminal scheme to coordinate fundraising with conservative groups, prosecutors said in court documents unsealed today. No charges have been filed against Walker or any member of his staff. The documents were filed in December as part of an investigation into alleged illegal fundraising and campaign coordination by Walker and his campaign, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, the state chamber of commerce, and other groups. The investigation began in 2012 as Walker, who rose to fame by passing a bill that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers, was facing a recall election. But the probe has been on hold since May, when a federal judge ruled it was a breach of Wisconsin Club for Growth's free-speech rights and temporarily halted it.

State prosecutors said in the December filing that Walker, former chief of staff Keith Gilkes, top adviser RJ Johnson, and campaign operative Deborah Jordahl were discussing illegal fundraising and coordination with national political groups and prominent Republican figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove. At New York, Jonathan Chait translates thusly:

  • "The Walker allegations center around a widespread legal fiction governing independent expenditures. Donations to candidates can be regulated, but campaign finance laws have opened up a vast loophole for outside groups to spend money on elections, as long as they pretend they’re not actually part of the campaign. Walker apparently forgot to pretend."
It's anybody's guess whether this will turn into an actual indictment, but Politico sees it as unwelcome political news for the governor, who is in a tight race for re-election and is mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate. (More Scott Walker stories.)

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