Wisconsin

Wisconsin Recall Roundup June 4, 2012

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.

Will Scott Walker Be Given a Pink Slip, an Orange Jump Suit or a Second Chance?

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.

Tom Morello and Jackson Browne Rock for the Recall at Madison's Labor Temple

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.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup June 1, 2012

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.

Texas-Based "True the Vote" Gearing Up to Combat "Voter Fraud" in Wisconsin Recall

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.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 31, 2012

Walker's Biggest Donor Pays No Taxes

Diane HendricksGovernor 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 Elections Board to Investigate ALEC

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.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 30, 2012

New Campaign Finance Numbers Out, More Money Poured into Walker Criminal Defense Fund

Candidates in the June 5 recall elections filed their campaign finance reports yesterday with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB). Reports show that Governor Scott Walker raised $5 million between April 24 and May 21, which brings his total to $30 million since January 2011 -- more than any other candidate in Wisconsin history. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's campaign has raised $3.1 million between April 24 and May 21, for a total of $3.9 million. Walker is outspending Barrett by a factor of 12:1. These numbers do not show the astonishing level of spending by 3rd party groups who have come into the state, mostly on the side of Governor Walker. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) alone has spent as much in this last month ($3.9 million) as Tom Barrett has raised.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 29, 2012

Existence of "Bombshell" Emails Revealed in "John Doe" Criminal Probe

Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice revealed the existence of potentially explosive emails uncovered as part of the John Doe criminal investigation of Governor Scott Walker's former staff during the time that he served as Milwaukee County Executive. The paper had previously reported that as part of the wide-ranging secret investigation, the Milwaukee District Attorney was looking into "bid rigging" allegations related to the county's efforts to find private or public office space for its Department on Aging. The paper is now revealing that this aspect of the investigation involves emails between Walker and a long-time campaign advisor that have been described as everything from "legally inconclusive" to "a bombshell." Because of the strict secrecy rules governing the case, the sources refused to release the documents to the newspaper. Anyone divulging information from the John Doe proceedings, which take place in closed court before a single judge, could face criminal charges.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 28, 2012

Walker's Record on Veterans Under Fire

On Memorial Day, Wisconsinites are honoring those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, Memorial Day is taking place in the context of a historic recall election that is just eight days away, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing criticism from veterans and others over his handling of veterans affairs. An editorial in the Capital Times, reminds us that two of Walker's associates from his days as Milwaukee County Executive have been charged with embezzling money from the "Operation Freedom" charity for families of fallen soldiers. Tim Russell, a former Walker top aide, and Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee, were charged earlier in the year with embezzling over $62,000 from the veterans fund. Russell used the money to take expensive cruises and vacations with his boyfriend, Brian Pierick, who was also charged with child enticement. All three men are awaiting trial. The charity had been run by a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Milwaukee County, with no complaints. But Walker took control of the "Operation Freedom" charity away from the VFW and handed it over to his aide Russell, a decision still deserving of an explanation says the Capital Times.

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