Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scott Walker Exposed-- Again-- For Criminal Corruption. U.S. Supreme Court To Examine The Case In 2 Weeks


In case you missed it yesterday, here's Ed Pilkington's massive leak (1,500 pages) of Scott Walker corruption documents that The Guardian published yesterday. Think of them in terms of the Zephyr Teachout video we looked out earlier and what The Guardian termed opening "a door onto how modern U.S. elections operate in the wake of Citizens United, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that unleashed a flood of corporate money into the political process. They speak to the mounting sense of public unease about the cosy relationship between politicians and big business, and to the frustration of millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised by an electoral system that put the needs of corporate donors before ordinary voters."

In a companion piece, Pilkington explained how Walker was able to squelch an investigation into his corruption that would have derailed his presidential ambitions (later derailed by his lameness and inability to fight off TV reality clown and buffoon Donald Trump).
In a case that is the subject of a petition currently in front of the US supreme court, five Wisconsin prosecutors carried out a deep investigation into what they suspected were criminal campaign-finance violations by the campaign committee of Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor and former Republican presidential candidate. Known as the “John Doe investigation”, the inquiry has been a lightning rod for bitter disputes between conservatives and progressives for years.

In July 2015 the state’s supreme court halted the investigation, saying the prosecutors had misunderstood campaign finance law and as a result had picked on people and groups “wholly innocent of any wrongdoing”. Highly unusually, the court also ordered that all the evidence assembled by the prosecutors be destroyed and later held under seal.

Among the documents are several court filings from the case, as well as hundreds of pages of email exchanges obtained by the prosecutors under subpoena. The emails involve conversations concerning Walker, his top aides, conservative lobbyists, and leading Republican figures such as Karl Rove and the chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus.

Trump also appears in the files, making a donation of $15,000 following a personal visit from Walker to the Republican nominee’s Fifth Avenue headquarters.

In addition to Trump, many of the most powerful and wealthy rightwing figures in the nation crop up in the files: from Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and Las Vegas casino giant Sheldon Adelson, to magnate Carl Icahn. “I got $1m from John Menard today,” Walker says in one email, referring to the billionaire owner of the home improvement chain, Menards.

Among the new material contained in the documents are donations amounting to $750,000 to a third-party group closely aligned to Walker from the owner of NL Industries, a company that historically produced lead paint. Within the same timeframe as the donations, the Republican-controlled legislature passed new laws making it much more difficult for victims of lead paint poisoning to sue NL Industries and other former lead paint manufacturers (the laws were later overturned in the federal courts).

The John Doe files also provide new insight into the extensive efforts made by allies of Scott Walker to help a conservative member of the Wisconsin supreme court, David Prosser, hang onto his seat in a 2011 re-election. A network of like-minded groups and campaigners channeled $3.5m in undisclosed corporate funds to pay for TV and radio ads backing the judge.

The push was seen as vital, the documents disclose, as a means of retaining the rightwing majority of the court and thereby preserving the anti-union measures introduced by Walker. “If we lose [Justice Prosser], the Walker agenda is toast,” one ally writes in an email sent around to the governor’s chief of staff and several conservative lobbyists.

In 2015, Justice Prosser refused to recuse himself from a case in which the state supreme court sat in judgment over the John Doe investigation, despite the fact that the investigation focused on precisely the same network of lobbying groups and donors that had helped him hang onto his seat. The judge joined a majority of four conservative justices who voted to terminate the investigation and destroy all the documents now leaked to the Guardian.

Prosser told the Guardian that four years had passed since his re-election before he joined the decision to close the John Doe investigation, over which time any potential conflict of interest had faded.
All this money to save Walker's hide was funneled through the Wisconsin Club for Growth. One of my favorite revelations was that Gogebic Taconite, the mining company for which Walker and his right-wing henchmen in the state legislature eased mining regulations for a proposed iron mine gave a $700,000 bribe. The prosecuteors have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the corrupted decision bribed members of the Wisconsin court. The Supreme Court is scheduled to review that decision September 26.

Mary Hoeft, the progressive Democrat challenging Walker crony Sean Walker for the 7th district congressional seat in the northwest and central part of the state, is campaigning hard on getting unrestricted corporate money and dark contributions out of American politics. We called her this morning and she told us "As I continue in this campaign I realize more and more the role money plays in an election. Sean Duffy has made it clear that he doesn't have to debate me because he has no desire to have his positions heard by the people of my district. He has enough money to buy enough commercials to say whatever lies about me that he chooses. He will have the final say before people go into the voting booth. I continue to move forward, grateful for the generous donation of people like you. But the ugly truth remains that in America, elections are bought, not won."

With Hillary and Russ Feingold at the top of the ticket, this is a perfect opportunity for the Democrats to oust Duffy and other Walker allies around the state. Unfortunately, the DCCC doesn't see it that way and they're doing nothing to help Mary at all. Please consider giving her and other progressive Democrats a hand, by tapping on the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a while ago we had the unanimous(?) SCOTUS ruling that essentially legalized bribing of congress members.

I must assume this will me the matching ruling that does the same for the judiciary.

John Puma


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