Prosecutors seem to think so. According to documents released yesterday, prosecutors believe that the Republican Wisconsin governor illegally coordinated the activities of conservative groups during his state’s 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Considering the seriousness of the charge, Walker can pretty much waive any 2016 prospects goodbye.
Prosecutors are calling the arrangements that involved Walker, several aides, and 12 independent conservative groups, an “extensive criminal scheme.” Although SCOTUS ruled political donations with the same protections as free speech and place no cap on amounts, it’s still illegal for candidates to coordinate with political groups to raise money for their own campaign.
Unsealed emails between Walker and Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s chief political strategist and founder of conservative groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, they discussed the role of top campaign deputy R.J. Johnson in the recall elections
According to the lawsuit brought against Walker by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, key group in the suspected scam, Johnson sent Walker a document noting that the WCG’s actions were overseen by “operative R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl, who coordinated spending through 12 different groups. Most spending by other groups were directly funded by grants from the Club [WCG].”
Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz said the “expansive” scheme under investigation “includes criminal violations of multiple elections laws, including violations Filing a False Campaign Report or Statement and Conspiracy to File a False Campaign Report or Statement.”
The scheme is suspected to have funneled millions of dollars to Walker’s campaign by his own hands, and also the hands of his campaign deputies.
Money in politics is a flimsy system that skews the democratic process and trades in the voices of the average many for the voices of the wealthy few. The Citizens United ruling only gives incentives and cover for candidates who want to participate in schemes like what Walker is being accused of.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.