Scott Walker's John Doe Leak Reveals a Lot

Sep. 15, 2016
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Hooray for the Guardian US for releasing leaked documents from the long-running John Doe investigation

For anyone who’s been paying attention, the revelations are sort of more of the same, with more details. 

That is, we all knew that Scott Walker had linked his campaign account to the allegedly independent special interest, dark money groups. 

We knew this because we know Scott Walker. 

Scott Walker launched his political career with dirty tricks. 

Then, as Milwaukee County executive, he’d set up a secret, private router so that his work in government could be driven by his political advisors and campaign staffers. 

And we knew from previous court filings that Walker was trashing the state’s campaign finance laws by linking his campaign to the “independent” groups. He’d even admitted that he’d fundraised for Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spearheaded the effort and was led by his own campaign advisor, RJ Johnson. 

Now, thanks to the Guardian’s leaked documents, we have many more details. 

A few revelations: 

  • The big headline was pay-to-play for the lead paint industry. First, it’s shocking that it happened. Second, who goes to bat for the lead paint industry? Can you think of a more reprehensible villain?
  • Walker was shaking down national donors, from Karl Rove to Donald Trump. Again, we knew about a lot of this already and in fact Walker would use this national network in an attempt to launch his presidential campaign. But, again, it’s sort of shocking to see the actual emails instructing Walker on how to shake down these millionaires and billionaires, and for how much. And then he did it. 
  • Among the folks coordinating the recount defense of Justice David Prosser was Scott Jensen. Yes, that Scott Jensen, disgraced Assembly leader turned voucher school lobbyist. Talk about someone who didn’t learn his lesson. (Then again, why should he? He got off with a slap on the wrist, thanks to his Republican colleagues in the Legislature and on the state Supreme Court.) 
  • The Walker camp bragged that “Wisconsin Club for Growth raised 12 million dollars and ran a soup to nuts campaign” during the recalls. The emails show exactly how, from fundraising to messaging. That’s where the problem is. I’ve always been told that it’s one thing if the fundraising was kind of comingled, but the real crime was in the spending. And looking through the emails it’s so obvious that Walker/Club for Growth operative RJ Johnson was calling the shots on ad scripts, where they’d be aired, and delivering money from various groups to pay for them. At one point, the team seems confused as to who is the sponsor of a particular ad, since the ads are pretty much interchangeable. 
  • And think about the coordination—the operation was already airing ads to “stand with Walker” as soon as March 2011, just weeks after Walker dropped the bomb on Wisconsin—errr… introduced what would become Act 10. Of course, some of the ads benefitted David Prosser, who refused to recuse himself from hearing the John Doe case. 

Folks, this was a criminal operation through and through. I’ll have more updates as I comb through the emails. 

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