GQ Magazine is the latest national outlet to give Walker the rough treatment, calling him out as “dogged by a hazy but persistent waft of scandal.”
To be sure, there’s plenty that stinks about Walker’s time in office, and it’s not just his dismal record on job creation that has Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest in job growth or his ballooning budget deficit.
Since the day he was elected in 2010 there has not been a single day when Scott Walker was not involved in a criminal corruption probe. Not a single day.
John Doe #1
Scott Walker’s campaign offices were raided by prosecutors on the eve of the gubernatorial election in 2010.
The first criminal corruption probe into then-County Executive Scott Walker’s administration resulted in convictions for six of his top aides and associates for crimes, committed on his watch, ranging from felony misconduct in public office to theft from a charity intended to benefit the families of fallen soldiers. Four aides received prison sentences.
Walker spent more than $500,000 on his criminal defense related to this scandal, the only sitting governor in Wisconsin history to ever require a criminal defense fund. (NOTE: Currently, between both criminal corruption probes, Walker’s criminal defense expenses top out over one million dollars.)
Walker escaped prosecution, even as records obtained through the investigation raised questions about bid-rigging and pay-for-play corruption and revealed illegal campaigning, misuse of taxpayer resources, and obstruction of open records laws.
While Walker himself dodged criminal charges, emails to and from Scott Walker introduced into the court record remove any doubt about whether he was involved in the commission of crimes, whether his Milwaukee County office was merely an illegal adjunct of his 2010 campaign for governor, and whether Scott Walker or his administration was causing the subversion of Open Records laws for his political gain.
Scott Walker has previously acknowledged his role in approving, authorizing and even directing blatantly illegal coordination as a “routine” part of day-to-day activity. Documents released at a November 2012 sentencing hearing for Kelly Rindfleisch, a top aide to Walker who was convicted of felony misconduct in public office in the first John Doe criminal corruption probe, revealed the extent to which Walker blurred the lines between campaign activity and the public’s business.
A “Campaign Group” comprised of Walker and top advisers to his campaign and County administration, including Johnson, coordinated every single day to keep the county executive’s office “in sync” with the campaign’s “image.”
This included the campaign’s direction of Walker’s official response to an accident that resulted in the death of a 15 year old boy.
John Doe #2
In the course of investigating Walker and his associates in the first criminal corruption probes, five prosecutors, both Republicans and Democrats, found evidence they believed was sufficient to commence further investigation into potentially illegal campaign finance activity and pay-to-play corruption. The five investigations were merged into a second John Doe investigation, that for several months overlapped with the first investigation, led by a special prosecutor who alleged that Walker alleged was at the center of a nationwide “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with approximately 29 outside special interest groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth.
Prosecutors point to an email sent from Scott Walker to national Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove as a smoking gun to Walker’s involvement in criminal activity. In the email, Walker explains to Rove that his top campaign aide, R.J. Johnson, was leading the coordination effort to raise and spend money in the recall elections:
“Bottom line — R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running nine recall elections and it will be like nine Congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities.)”
The documents also revealed that Johnson openly discussed the Walker campaign coordinating with the Republican Governors Association, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, and the Republican State Leadership Committee, even claiming that the Walker campaign “owned” Club for Growth.
And in an April court filing, special investigator Dean Nickel discussed information that Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), an out-of-state mining corporation that literally wrote its own law, had donated $700,000 to Club for Growth for Walker. Speaking for a special prosecutor, Nickel said of the donation that, “Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited.” Speaking for a special prosecutor, Nickel said of the donation that, “Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited.”