Trouble is brewing for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Walker is the target of probe conducted by Milwaukee County, issuing dozens of subpoenas requesting documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaign to recall Walker and other state lawmakers.
“Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand all memoranda, email […] correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity — Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.”
The Journal report goes on to say that the subpoenas are demanding “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.”
According to Madison.com:
[box type=”shadow”]According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, spending in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections by groups mentioned in the article include:
- Right Direction Wisconsin PAC (Republican Governors Association): $9.4 million
- Club for Growth Wisconsin: $9.1 million
- Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: $4.7 million
Americans for Prosperity/MacIver Institute for Public Policy: $4.5 million
The liberal Center for Media and Democracy has tracked millions of dollars that has flowed among these groups in Wisconsin.
In an interview Saturday, the group’s general counsel, Brendan Fischer, described it as a “dark money shell game” in which thousands and in some cases millions of dollars from anonymous donors are moved from one organization to another with the goal of influencing elections.[/box]
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Unmentioned in the editorial is that R.J. Johnson is an adviser to both Walker’s campaign and the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The newspaper said the subpoenas sought records and fundraising information and were related to the 2011 and 2012 recall efforts against the Republican governor and state senators. The subpoenas come out of a second, secret John Doe investigation of Walker aides or allies. The first investigation was closed in February, but the second one is ongoing. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on both investigations.
John Doe probes give prosecutors the power to compel people to testify and bar them from speaking about their involvement in the investigations. The Wall Street Journal editorial page reported O’Keefe was willing to discuss his subpoena, saying he “realizes the personal risk but wants the public to know what is going on.”
Search warrants were executed based on affidavits filed by Dean Nickel, according to the newspaper. Nickel served as the special agent in charge for the state Department of Justice’s public integrity unit, and the newspaper reported he has served as an investigator for the state Government Accountability Board.[/box]
It’s clear that the groups listed in the subpoena were not exercising their free speech rights when they intentionally and illegally misinformed voters.
Although coincidence and incompetence may be an admissible defense in a limited number of cases, most investigators do not give credence to coincidence. The new investigation of the conservative groups that have invaded Wisconsin since the days before the 2010 election is a long time coming.
h/t: Freak Out Nation