Sunday, November 3, 2013

Walkergate 2: A Herd Of (John) Does

Two weeks ago, the news broke that there was a second John Doe investigation, stemming from the original Walkergate one, and that it was still going on and had already grown bigger than the original.

A couple days later, the usual suspects deferred comment on the goings on.  But that didn't mean that one couldn't make an educated guess.  One of the possibilities that I had discussed included  collusion between Scott Walker's campaign, WISGOP and the numerous front groups for the Koch Brothers and the Bradley Foundation:
While pulling up the information for the above sections, it did remind me of one other well-known incident of obvious collusion....the time that Walker was talking to "David Koch."  Specifically, this part of that conversation:
WALKER: The other thing is more long term and that is after this, um, you know, the coming days and weeks and months ahead, particularly in some of these more swing areas, a lot of these guys are gonna need, they don’t necessarily need ads for them but they ‘re going to need a message out reinforcing why this was a good thing to do for the economy a good thing to do for the state so the extent that message is out over and over again, that’s obviously, that’s obviously a good thing.
Now, obviously, that was not the real David Koch. Not being a lawyer, I have no idea if this would be a prosecutable offense.

But think about this. While that David Koch was a fake, do you think that Walker has never had a similar conversation with the real one?

Also, let us not forget in addition to the Kochs, there are the groups like the Bradley Foundation (whose chair is Michael Grebe, Walker's campaign chair), the Sam Adams Alliance and all of their front groups like MacIver Institute, Wisconsin Reporter and Media Trackers. 

Does anyone seriously believe that there was no cooperation, coercion and collusion between these groups, the campaigns of Walker and the other Republicans who were being recalled?
Sure enough, and appropriately enough on Halloween, Matt Kittle of the Wisconsin Reporter, a subsidiary of the Franklin Center, let fly with a rather ineffective spin on the story:
Democrats using the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office to launch an investigation into conservative political organizations have targeted Columbia and Iowa counties, a source familiar with the probe tells Wisconsin Reporter.

The source, who asked not to be identified because of his closeness to people involved in the so-called John Doe investigation, said he knew of three subpoenas, and said law enforcement officials have seized electronic devices and papers in Columbia and Dane counties.

“I was told basically that (Gov. Scott) Walker is too powerful; they want to bring him down,” the source said.

Other insiders corroborated that account. They said John Doe Two, as the probe has been dubbed, has gone after such national groups as Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and the Republican Governors Association.
Whoa! So there is more than one John Doe involved.  There is a herd of Does that could be involved with this.

Not only was Kittle's spin ineffective, he inadvertently revealed more than what was known before. And the astute Lisa Kaiser of the Shepherd Express caught on to that immediately:
Wisconsin Reporter is run by the Franklin Center.

The Franklin Center is funded by the Sam Adams Alliance.

The Sam Adams Alliance had been chaired by Eric O’Keefe.

Eric O’Keefe is the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is one of the front groups that is allegedly being investigated this time around.

Hold that thought.

Wisconsin Reporter also noted that the John Doe 2 investigation has branched out to a few counties, including Dane, Iowa and Columbia counties:

The source, who asked not to be identified because of his closeness to people involved in the so-called John Doe investigation, said he knew of three subpoenas, and said law enforcement officials have seized electronic devices and papers in Columbia and Dane counties.
Wisconsin Club for Growth is based in Sun Prairie, which is in Dane County.

Its president/director, Charles Talbot, lives in either Belleville or Portage; Portage is in Columbia County.

Its longtime political operative, R.J. Johnson, lives in Randolph, which is in both Columbia and Dodge counties.

You may remember R.J.

He was one of Walker’s top campaign advisors in 2009 and 2010. He was copied on a number of county emails that were released as part of the O’Donnell Park case. After Walker’s election he promptly became the face of Wisconsin Club for Growth again.
In one fell swoop, Kaiser might have busted open who the John Does are.

But why is this significant?

Well, I covered that a year and a half ago in an article about these third party groups, which was published by the Shepherd Express.  In the article, I wrote about the possibility of collusion and what it would take to successfully prosecute such a case:
Marquette University Law School associate professor Edward Fallone said that the "coordination between a campaign and a third party group is very difficult to prove unless someone from one of the organizations comes forward with hard evidence of such coordination."

Fallone said that Koch and Grebe could simply claim that they gave this money to these groups because they share a common political philosophy, which would not rise to the level of coordination.

Attorney Michael Maistelman, one of Wisconsin's leading authorities on election laws, agreed. He stated that it would only reach the level of illegal coordination if it could be proven that Grebe or someone from Walker's campaign had communications with the media sources. He added that such communication could include general, informal conversations at an event such as a political rally or a dinner.

Maistelman also said that if there is "any sort of communication between the campaign and a third party group, then anything of value received from the third party group would have to be reported as an in-kind contribution and would be subject to campaign finance limits."

The activities of the news media groups might violate the spirit of the campaign laws, but it would be very difficult to enforce in a court of law.
Now think about this. We already know from the first Walkergate that Walker's campaign, including R.J. Johnson and Scott Walker himself, were involved with almost every communication between his campaign and Walker's Milwaukee County staff. I see no reason as to why this might not be so with any third party group such as Americans for Prosperity, MacIver Institute, Media Trackers and/or Citizens for Responsible Government.

In fact, it would seem more unlikely that they weren't involved with these groups on some level.

And if this second version of Walkergate can find and produce even the knowledge of such collusion and collaboration, that could conceivably bring the whole statewide system for the Teapublicans down.

No wonder the Teapublicans are looking like deer in the headlights. They should be.  They could end up being in a world of hurt, which would be a fitting consequence for all the hurts they helped cause.

There are two final points that need to be made.

One, it should be noted that Kaiser had another very valid point.

During the original Walkergate, the Teapublicans were screaming about leaks from the investigation, even though there were none. But now that it's the Teapublicans doing the leaking, they're not saying a word about it. Go figure.

The other point is from the article I had written on these "independent groups."  In that article, I also reported that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign had filed a complaint  with the IRS against the MacIver Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heartland Institute (of the Angry Badger fame).

Do you reckon the feds might be conducting their own investigation into these groups as well?


  1. Could the John Doe investigation be involved with the discrepancies in the exit polling from the actual results of both the 2010 and 2011 recall election? Could John Doe investigations include command central, who for unknown reasons, supplied hundreds of free voting machines to municipalities before the Walker Recall? Somthing stinks...and it ain't the aged cheddar!

  2. There's also a reference in the Marley and Stein book on WalkerWorld where Walker tells GOP legislators that "they would get air support" if they went along with Act 10. Soon after, we saw the MacIver "it's Working" campaign, and Icki McKenna and others fronting AFP(Koch) rallies.

    Things that make you go "Hmmm..."

    1. The Feds should also be looking into the collusion between WisGOP Catholic legislators and the funds flowing via Wisconsin's RTL group (and AFP). The local Sportsmen's group in Merrill received $15,000 I think from their "Gun Banquet" and the priest preaches politics from the pulpit...basically saying that members who voted Democrat would go to hell.

    2. What, are you implying that the vast majority of voucher schools are Catholic-based is something other than a coincidence? :P

  3. Juicy drooling shit..

  4. They are attacking this as "political". So you know they are in trouble.

  5. Since Wisconsin Reporter is pointing out the Special Prosecuter has anti-terrorist expieience, dow this mean that call with the fake Koch where Walker discussed potential violence generated some interest from the powers that be in seeing what else they mave been plotting along those lines?

    1. Well, there is the sovereign citizen, anti-government gun-nut son of Kim Simac who threatened that immigrants might be taken care of if found in the Northwoods. He's now conveniently the EVP of WisFamilyAction coalition...funded by, you guessed it, the same RW Koch sources.

  6. Something I've been pondering as of late. With all the news of the NSA and it's reach into everyone's daily lives, I wonder what it would take to get that sort of information to support a case against Walker? I understand the FOIA and government phones, etc. But what about investigations of the "terrorist" agenda as mentioned by Anonymous @ 6:22?