The Guardian's remarkable 1,300 page leak of documents from the so-called "John Doe investigation" of Walker's illegal collusion with "independent" third-party non-profit groups is, in many ways, jaw-dropping. As we discuss on today's show, in addition to that collusion, the leaked emails also reveal state GOP operatives preparing to declare massive Democratic voter fraud, without a shred of evidence in support, in order to try and win a very close 2011 election for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. The rightwing Justice would ultimately ensure a Walker-friendly majority on the court to support the Governor's controversial union-busting law.
"Do we need to start messaging widespread reports of election fraud so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should," writes one of the GOP operatives in one of the emails as results from the tight race came in. "Talk radio needs to scream the Dems are trying to steal the race…We need to declare victory first so it appears that the results are being overturned if they go the wrong way." Sound familiar?
You can see what came of that recount, which we covered extensively back in 2011, including exclusives revealing, among other irregularities, ballot bags ripped and discovered "wide open" with mismatched or missing serial numbers as well as ballots found completely unsecured and other similar messes and mistallies across the state. My 2011 interview with Prosser's challenger, then Asst. Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg, after she was ultimately forced to concede, thanks in no small part to the dishonest scheming applied by the operatives cited above, is right here.
Attorney Brendan Fischer, Associate Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center in D.C., joins us to help unpack the breathtaking smoking guns revealed by these newly-disclosed documents, after the state's probe of Walker was shut down by the very same elected Justices on the state Supreme Court whose elections were funded by the exact same corporate millionaire and billionaire donors and illegal mechanisms revealed by the quashed documents. Yes, it makes my head spin too.
"These documents show the breadth of the coordination scheme that Walker was engaged in," Fischer tells me. "It shows that what the Republican and Democratic prosecutors in Wisconsin were looking into with this investigation was really significant. It was a broad scheme to evade the state's corporate contribution limits and disclosure requirements. And that was very explicit. The purpose of Walker coordinating was to evade disclosure laws, to allow corporations and controversial donors to support Walkers' re-election without any sort of public disclosure or public accountability. That was not a bug in this coordination scheme, that was the purpose from the beginning. And the emails show that very clearly."
You really need to listen to today's show to get the full picture of what happened, and how this scheme has served as a template for GOP elections all over the country now (including the very same donors behind Donald Trump's campaign and, indeed, as we learn, including Trump himself who gave money to the "independent" Wisconsin Club for Growth on the very same day he met with Walker in NYC.) Fischer also describes, for example, the lead paint manufacturer who secretly donated $750,000 to the tax-exempt, non-profit "social welfare" group before state Republicans slipped in a provision to a budget bill that granted immunity to his company in the face of lawsuits from hundreds of children poisoned by the paint. "The public was unable to connect the dots between the secret three-quarters of a million dollar contributions to Wisconsin Club for Growth and the later policy decisions that Walker took" on behalf of the donor, explains Fischer.
"Bigger picture, this is one of those rare snapshots into how 'dark money' works," he says. "When you look at these documents, the two [Walker and WCfG] are interchangeable. This was not an instance where Walker's campaign had a few conversations here and there with Wisconsin Club for Growth Officials…Wisconsin Club for Growth was an arm of the Walker campaign." Fischer also goes on to explain what we might expect as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a motion that could re-open the state's criminal probe later this month. Even if I say so myself, it's a must-listen BradCast today.
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