An old adage says:
Where there's smoke, there's usually fire.It looks like there may be plenty in the newly revealed John Doe Probe which is active in several counties in Wisconsin looking at possible illegal coordination between outside groups like Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity with Republican campaigns. The first John Doe, which examined affairs in Scott Walkers Milwaukee County Executive Office, culminating with 5 convictions of Walkers associates, was met with "son of a preacher man and former Eagle Scout" talking points from Walker. On the newly revealed secret investigation, Walker has been pretty mum.
Not so much silence from others. RW AM hate radio has been screetching "partisan witch hunt" from their high powered radio transmitters since the investigation was revealed, RW "news" and blog sites have been denouncing the probe will all caps blaring, and 3 unnamed petitioners, who have requested anonymity, have filed petitions with the Court of Appeals to halt the probe.
This is very much unlike the occasional "nothing to see here" mentions that the original John Doe got until charges were filed and the plea bargaining started.
There seems to be a pile-on to submit briefs to the Appeals Court in advance of their decision with multiple parties submitting briefs and some of it seems to be grasping at straws.
The petitioners are challenging the ability to appoint a special prosecutor in the case and the ability to run coordinated John Doe probes across multiple counties. Observers have said the case could eventually hinge on free speech questions.Considering the hammering the Milwaukee County District Attorneys office took from the RW media machine once charges were filed and convictions obtained, it seems reasonable to appoint a special prosecutor who won't have to worry about getting smeared in future elections or have politics interfere. As to free speech, how does free speech even enter into the equation when coordinating between outside monied groups and campaigns, if it can be proven, is illegal?
And some of this has gotten silly.
R.J. Johnson is a consultant to both the Club for Growth and Walker’s campaign. Asked in a recent interview about that arrangement and whether steps were taken to avoid illegal coordination, Walker noted that for his 2012 recall the normal campaign fundraising limits did not apply.(emphasis is mine)
“Really for us in 2011 (during the Senate recalls), there wasn’t any other election and then even in 2012 for me, unlike for normal elections, there were no limits in contributions, so the biggest benefit for someone who wanted to help me was to help me, not to go out and work with any other (group), whether it was Club for Growth or any other group out there. Our preference was always to have people support our campaign.”
OK, I must be missing the connection between illegal coordination and unlimited fundraising during. Those 2 things seem to be apples and oranges. Or, perhaps, R. J. Johnson just wanted to obfuscate things.
No worries, though, for Scott Walker and his supporters. The average Wisconsinite won't know about this since this information has been relegated to an online newspaper blog rather than in an actual newspaper that people will read. If it was good news for Walker or the Republicans, you can bet your next paycheck it would be headline news in Wisconsin media.
Stay tuned. The Appeals Court is supposed to rule on this by the end of the year.
If coordination between these monied RW groups and Republican campaigns can be proven, this may have national implications. In Wisconsin during the 2010 mid term elections, the 2011 and 2012 recalls it seemed obvious that coordination was happening. Republican campaigns put out "I'm a nice guy" ads promoting promises of jobs, jobs, and more jobs (Scott Walkers famous 250,000 new jobs promise is haunting him worse than the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future) while the RW groups put out attack ads on opponents. Call me a pessimist, but I don't think that stuff happens by accident.
We'll see what happens.
Special note to Cheeseheads: Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to play on Sunday as the Packers take on Da Bears. Go, Pack, Go! Yes, this partisan sports message was brought to you by one of the "owners" of the Packers, the only team owned by the community.