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Watchdog: Latest Walker Flap May Have Huge Implications

IMAGE: The grassroots group United Wisconsin says the accusation that Gov. Scott Walker oversaw a criminal scheme to unlawfully coordinate Republican fundraising and campaign activity could have far-reaching implications for campaign finance laws, regardless of whether actual charges are ever filed. (Image from Common Cause)
IMAGE: The grassroots group United Wisconsin says the accusation that Gov. Scott Walker oversaw a criminal scheme to unlawfully coordinate Republican fundraising and campaign activity could have far-reaching implications for campaign finance laws, regardless of whether actual charges are ever filed. (Image from Common Cause)
June 23, 2014

MADISON, Wis. – In documents unsealed by a federal judge late last week, prosecutors in the John Doe probe into Gov. Scott Walker's campaigns describe what they call a criminal scheme to get around Wisconsin's campaign finance and election laws.

Lisa Subeck, executive director of the grassroots group United Wisconsin, says there are two take-aways from the latest flap: one is that Walker was clearly involved in a united effort to coordinate campaign money from conservative groups.

"The second take-away, though, really deals with how our campaign finance laws work,” she stresses. “And the second take-away is that if this doesn't get prosecuted, I think that what we will see is a systematic dismantling of our campaign finance laws."

Subeck says the purpose of Wisconsin's campaign finance laws is clear.

"They're not about protecting candidates,” she points out. “They're not about protecting people who are in office. They're not about protecting people who want to influence elections.

“Our campaign finance laws are in place, including this law about coordination, to protect the public, to ensure that candidates don't have the opportunity to skirt the law."

Walker's supporters, including attorneys for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which was active in the recall election, say it was the prosecutors who violated the state's election laws, and that they targeted conservatives throughout the state.

Walker pointed out that two judges have ordered a halt to the John Doe probe – both rulings are on appeal now – and that no charges have been filed against him.

Subeck says regardless of the fact that no charges have been filed, attempting to coordinate fundraising and campaign activity is wrong, and the people know it.

"Quite frankly this is a law that I think everybody takes very seriously,” she says. “There is good reason that we do not allow this kind of coordination, because it allows people to skirt our campaign finance laws.

“So certainly we should all be appalled by what we saw."


Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI