Try as he might, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker can’t seem to shake allegations of criminal activities involving his campaign. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, dominated by conservatives elected with help from the same dark-money groups that supported Walker, last year shut down an investigation into illegal coordination with these groups and ordered the collected evidence destroyed. But some 1,500 pages of records uncovered in the investigation were recently leaked to The Guardian, which shared them with the world.
At issue is whether a so-called “independent” third-party group, Wisconsin Club for Growth, illegally functioned as an arm of the Walker campaign, as well as those of other state Republicans facing recall elections in 2011 and 2012. The released records show that Walker raised money from rich people (including Donald Trump) and corporations he called “our c(4) donors,” referring to the group’s tax status. One donor noted his reason for giving money on the check itself: “Because Scott Walker asked.”
At the time, Wisconsin law did not allow active coordination between campaigns and outside groups. The donations also circumvented a state ban on corporate spending on political campaigns. This was part of a deliberate strategy. Fundraiser Kate Doner, in a campaign briefing memo, offered this advice for Club For Growth: “Corporations. Go heavy after them to give.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has elected not to review the case. But based on The Guardian’s disclosures, state Democrats are seeking fresh charges for alleged violations of the state’s corporate contribution ban.
Bill Lueders is associate editor of The Progressive.