Walker not focus of fundraising probe, prosecutor says
June 26th, 2014
03:44 PM ET
1 month ago

Walker not focus of fundraising probe, prosecutor says

(CNN) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is not currently the focus of an investigation into allegations of illegally coordinated fundraising efforts between the governor's campaign and outside conservative groups in the midst of a heated 2012 recall campaign, according to a statement released Thursday by a lawyer representing the special prosecutor heading the probe.

That probe is currently on hold, pending a legal challenge from the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the conservative groups in question.

"At the time the investigation was halted, Governor Walker was not a target of the investigation," said Randall Crocker, an attorney for special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.

Crocker noted in his statement that "at no time" has Walker, a potential 2016 GOP White House contender, "been served with a subpoena."

"Mr. Schmitz has made no conclusions as to whether there is sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime," Crocker added.

Walker's 2014 re-election campaign quickly seized on Crocker's statement, releasing a statement blasting earlier "slanderous reporting" from the media and calling on journalists to "report the real facts of this story."

Documents released last week indicated that Walker and two top aides were part of a "criminal scheme" to bypass state election laws prohibiting coordination between the governor's campaign and other organizations.

But Crocker stressed Thursday that it is "wrong for any person to point to (those words) in a legal argument as a finding by the special prosecutor that Governor Walker has engaged in a criminal scheme. It is not such a finding."

"While these documents outlined the prosecutor's legal theory, they did not establish the existence of a crime," Crocker said. "They were arguments in support of further investigation to determine if criminal charges against any person or entity are warranted."

A federal judge ordered the documents unsealed following claims from Wisconsin Club for Growth that the organization was unfairly targeted by partisan prosecutors infringing on its First Amendment rights.

The release of the documents came less than five months before the midterm elections, when Walker will be on the ballot for another four-year term in office.

According to the documents, Schmitz's investigation focuses on a wide-ranging scheme to coordinate activities of several organizations with various candidate committees to thwart attempts to recall Walker and some Republican state lawmakers.

Walker, who was elected governor with the support of the tea party movement, set off a firestorm in January 2011 when he moved to curtail the collective bargaining rights of most Wisconsin state employees.

With majorities in both houses of the legislature, Walker and his GOP allies voted to limit raises for public employees (except police and firefighters) to the rate of inflation, bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks and force them to hold a new certification vote every year.

That bill was signed into law in March of that year, following weeks of protests at the state Capitol building in Madison that captured national attention.

Republicans insisted it was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.

Later that year, the state Supreme Court upheld the controversial law, but the battle sparked a storm of political activism that led to the recall effort.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Alan Silverleib, Steve Brusk, and Bill Mears contributed to this story

 


Filed under: 2016 • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Money talks and BS runs a marathon...

    June 26, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Who cares? What he was doing and what he was involved in was completely messed up, showed no respect for and was damaging to the integrity of our elections processes and show a total disregard for state and federal election laws, whether it was technically illegal, criminal or not. The story should be about what he was doing, not the narrow focus on whether it was criminal. What he and his people were doing deserves to be discussed and not downplayed and overshadowed by treating it as no big deal unless it was actually criminal. It IS a big deal, criminal or not.

    June 26, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Dang, and Walker had just cussed out the Investigators. Part of a Conspiracy. He'll have to find a new Boogerman.

    June 26, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Once again, it begs the question: if he did not know, than who did? Why did they make the decision to keep him in the dark, since, had he known about the coordination, I would like to think Walker would have put a stop to it and come clean about it right away. He would have been perceived as being responsible in that WI tradition. Instead, he appears to be a bad judge of character at the very least, and a person thumbing his nose at the law at worst.

    June 26, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Walker's 2014 re-election campaign quickly seized on Crocker's statement, releasing a statement blasting earlier "slanderous reporting" from the media and calling on journalists to "report the real facts of this story."

    I don't know. Given the political atmosphere filled with "I heard it on the internet" hypothesis, it's probably not going to happen anytime soon. Fact is, the media flames these stories through comment boards more than it fact checks them.

    June 26, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. ED1

    As always Democrats continue to spread lies.

    June 26, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    One thing's for sure. I doubt if Walker will win a statewide election in Wisconsin any time in the foreseeable future.

    June 26, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. bill

    @Smell It and The Real Tom Paine You just described Berry Obama.

    June 26, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Does Scott Walker seem like a trustworthy person? I think not. He's a crook like Christie. Is anyone starting to notice a pattern with these GOP governors?

    June 26, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. sifto

    Media Still trying to divert attention from numerous democrat and WH scandals..good luck with that...

    June 26, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "releasing a statement blasting earlier "slanderous reporting"

    He using the same PR guy that Kim Jong Un uses? "waaaaah, slander...blah blah blah seth rogen's movie is terrorism...soooo ronrey...".....sounds pretty similar to Walker's complaining.

    June 26, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Caumont

    He is not out the woods believe me. They will find a way to get a prosecutor on it they can. Meanwhile dozens of organizations were targeted by the IRS and Holder and the Senate have blocked every attempt at a special prosecutor. Can you imagine if you were being investigated by the IRS and you deleted email or disposed of evidence. Being audited in no fun even when you follow the letter of the law and this just magnifies their arrogance.

    June 26, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    "curtail the collective bargaining rights of most Wisconsin state employees"
    "limit raises for public employees"
    "bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks"
    Give the Tea Party serious control and we can see how little they care for the worker.

    AND Source Watch reported "WCFG's Board of Directors includes Eric O'Keefe, a right-wing political operative with deep ties to the Koch brothers". So we can see yet another secret incursion of Koch Bros. influence.

    Tea Party. In the pocket of Koch. Against the Worker. For corporate greed.

    June 26, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Walker, a potential 2016 GOP White House contender"

    That he is being touted as a potential 2016 GOP White House contender is beyond meaningless.

    June 26, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. smith

    Unions at one time served a good purpose now they are nothing but political donors who could care less about their members. Look at the motor city, the auto industry bailout, and all the plants that closed in Ohio this came from union greed. As far as the public sector goes, you don`t do public sector if wanna make big bucks. Its public service just like the military is federal service.

    June 26, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Thomas

    It's about time America has a guy with a high school GED running the show .

    Walker / Perry 2016

    Common Men with Common goals $

    June 26, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    @bill,

    Get a grip. Has Obama coordinated campaign activity with outside groups? Nope, he has not. Do you expect a president to know what is going on with every federal employee? Nope. I do expect a governor t know who is coordinating activities with outside groups in his campaign, and since Walker has a history of playing fast and loose with the law, I figured a conservative ought to be concerned about the perception. Stick to the issue at hand, which is the Koch Brothers' lap dog

    June 26, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Fred

    Silence DoGood

    "curtail the collective bargaining rights of most Wisconsin state employees"
    "limit raises for public employees"
    "bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Worked great for our state. Turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a surplus plus a reduction in taxes so that was a great decision. If you wan to send some money to pay for all those things feel free but I'm keeping mine. HAVE A NICE DAY.

    June 26, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. tom l

    Koskinen apologizes for IRS targeting and the gang says it didn't happen. Supreme Court rules 9-0 that Obama could not make those appointments yet the gang told us that he was perfectly fine to do that. Just another day on the ticker....

    June 26, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    sifto
    Media Still trying to divert attention from numerous democrat and WH scandals..good luck with that...

    ++++++++++++++

    You mean all those so-called "scandals" dreamed up by the right? Those so-called "scandals" for which car thief has been unable to prove any wrongdoing? If there were ANY merit to the right's claims, wouldn't that mean car thief is incompetent?

    June 26, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |