His refusal to be upfront with Wisconsin citizens casts more doubts on his leadership, ethics as governor
Much has already been said about the leaked John Doe documents that were released by the Guardian this week (the US version of the UK newspaper). Gov. Scott Walker and other legislative Republicans were clearly coordinating with third party groups like Wisconsin Club For Growth in attempts to circumvent campaign finance laws.
It’s evident that Walker and his recall campaign for governor told potential donors to give to third party groups in hopes of coordinating a singular message. This allowed donors to give unlimited sums, and to give anonymously, whereas giving to Walker’s campaign directly would require openness that some corporate leaders might not like.
Such coordination was illegal at the time it was occurring.
Several district attorneys (aligned with both major parties) and nonpartisan judges from the now-defunct Government Accountability Board saw ample evidence of malfeasance, and initiated a John Doe investigation (a secret inquiry that is meant to protect the identities of those being investigated) into Walker and his campaign contributors. Those investigations were halted by conservative judges, however, and when appealed to the state Supreme Court, justices there ruled that such coordination between Walker and third party interest groups were legal.
But some question the validity of that opinion, especially since many of the justices who sided with Walker’s preferred outcome benefitted themselves from the very same third party groups that he was allegedly coordinating with. Millions of dollars were spent on behalf of conservative justices by these third party groups during their own election campaigns to sit on the state Supreme Court.
The county district attorneys who initiated the John Doe investigation appealed the decision, and the federal Supreme Court is now considering hearing the case later this year (my prediction is that they will take up the case).
We will have to wait and see whether the High Court takes on the John Doe question. But on Thursday, when asked by reporters whether he still coordinated with third party interest groups and corporate donors, Walker wouldn’t clearly state yes or no on the matter.
From Jessie Opoien of the Cap Times:
Gov. Scott Walker wouldn't say whether he is currently raising money for outside groups like the Wisconsin Club for Growth, talking to reporters at a news conference Thursday.Walker did say that he isn’t actively fundraising specifically for Wisconsin Club for Growth. But he won’t answer the basic question of whether he’s fundraising for any other third party group, refusing to provide Wisconsin citizens with information on whether he still deals in shady campaign practices.
But later on Thursday morning, an Appleton Post-Crescent reporter tweeted that Walker said he is not soliciting funds for the group.
The same is true of Gov. Walker and his collusion with outside groups. Until we know with certainty whether he is coordinating or not with third party interest groups, we can only say that he is and he isn’t. There’s no way of knowing until we open the proverbial box...until Walker provides us with reason to believe him.