In 1938, Kenosha, Wisconsin-born Orson Welles stoked widespread confusion and panic when he broadcast mock news reports of an extraterrestrial invasion, with his famous radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds convincing some listeners that Martians were attacking the earth. In 2012, another Kenosha native, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, is promoting similar confusion by attacking the integrity of Wisconsin's elections and stoking fears of "voter fraud" in advance of Tuesday's recall election. Does Wisconsin really have a history of "voter fraud," or are Priebus and other Republicans following in the footsteps of Welles and pulling a massive hoax?
According to WisPolitics, a lawyer for Governor Scott Walker's former deputy chief of staff, Timothy Russell, "acknowledged today that he released documents that resulted in a news story saying Scott Walker's administration had stonewalled the investigation of money stolen from a fund for veterans."
A paid canvasser supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker before the recall election has been implicated in a "voter fraud" allegation. But despite claims by Walker and his allies, there is still no evidence of a systemic effort to fraudulently change election outcomes.
Reporter, Former Attorney General Suggest Walker is "Target" of John Doe and Federal Investigations
When Current TV's David Shuster broke the story on Friday that Walker was a "target" of the John Doe investigation he cited anonymous sources. On Saturday, Walker issued a strong denial, saying any suggestions that he has become a target of the John Doe probe are "100 percent wrong." Late on Saturday, Shuster revealed more. "I stand by my reporting 100 percent," Shuster said in a conference call reported on by the Progressive Magazine, adding that Walker was also a target in a federal investigation, citing unnamed sources with the U.S. Justice Department's Public Integrity Section. Shuster also said that Walker's attorneys had been seeking to have their client publicly cleared of wrongdoing for the last five or six weeks, but prosecutors would not clear him. Former District Attorney Bob Jambois said that "If Scott Walker thinks this is so unfair, why doesn't he open up these 1,400 emails." Former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said "Walker should have produced evidence to clear himself" if he was not a target of investigation, and it would have been "malpractice" for his attorneys not to seek a letter from prosecutors clearing him.
Madison -- Since September of 2010 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) has been detailing an ongoing "John Doe" criminal investigation being run out of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office involving Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's former staff and associates. The wide-ranging investigation has included allegations of campaign finance malfeasance, embezzlement of veterans funds, bid-rigging, and even child enticement during the period when Walker served as Milwaukee County Executive, but was running for governor.
On June 1, 2012, the MJS broke the story that Milwaukee County prosecutors were forced to move from a regular investigation to a secret "John Doe" criminal investigation more than two years ago after being stonewalled by the County Executive's office. Court records released in the trial of one of the defendants showed that prosecutors said Walker's office had been "unwilling or unable" to turn over requested records. This new information contradicts Walker's repeated claims that he has been "fully cooperating" with the investigation since the start.
The Nightwatchman, Tom Morello, returned to Madison once more in an effort to help Wisconsinites recall Governor Scott Walker. While the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity group rallied the Tea Party crowd down the street at the Alliant Energy Center, Morello rallied labor and the grassroots for the final "get out the vote" push.
Walker and Barrett Clash: Dead Child, John Doe and New Jobs Numbers Dominate Debate
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his recall challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met in Milwaukee last night for their second and final debate. The structure of this debate, moderated by one of Wisconsin's leading newsmen, WISN's Mike Gousha, allowed for more back and forth between the candidates and led to heated moments as underdog Tom Barrett went on the offense. Barrett slammed Walker for cutting a campaign ad that features a dead child in an attempt to criticize Barrett for the Milwaukee Police Department's under-reporting of crime. There is no evidence that Barrett knew about the under reporting or the tragic death of the child. Barrett defended his police department: "Milwaukee police arrested that man and put him in jail, but did not use the right code when reporting the crime... you should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker," Barrett charged. Walker did not apologize.
An out-of-state Tea Party organization recently called a "GOP front group" by a Texas judge is again intervening in Wisconsin's recall election and perpetuating unfounded fears of "voter fraud," a spectre also raised by right-wing media, Governor Scott Walker, and most recently, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus.
With polls showing the recall election between Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett tightening to a dead heat (49-49 in a recent survey by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake), Republicans have been invoking fears of "voter fraud" to cast doubt on a potential Barrett victory, despite repeated investigations finding no evidence of in-person electoral wrongdoing.
Walker's Biggest Donor Pays No Taxes
Governor Scott Walker has been talking about protecting Wisconsin taxpayers a lot in his campaign to keep his seat in the June 5 recall election, but it appears some taxpayers are getting more help than others. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Walker's biggest donor, the Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, paid zero state income tax in 2010. Scott Bianchini, the tax director for Hendricks' company, ABC Supply Inc. "declined to comment when asked whether Hendricks, who is chairman of ABC, had other income such as salary or dividends that could have been taxed in 2010." Hendricks has been in the public eye recently after a video was released in which Hendricks asks Walker about how to make Wisconsin a "red state" and if he will implement anti-union "Right to Work" laws. Walker responded by saying his "first step" was to "divide and conquer" unions. Hendricks subsequently gave Walker $510,000 for his recall campaign making her his top donor.
Minnesota's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will investigate whether the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) should be registered as a lobbyist in the state, according to a letter sent to Common Cause-Minnesota. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has also asked Wisconsin's ethics board to investigate ALEC's activities, and this month the Wisconsin Attorney General referred a joint complaint about ALEC's lobbying -- by CMD and Common Cause-Wisconsin -- to the state ethics board.