Holy cow. The court documents Puddytat said were coming have now been released. From The New York Times:
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin played a greater role than previously known in arranging for wealthy contributors to donate to a powerful conservative organization in his home state as it battled a two-year campaign to recall Mr. Walker and Republican lawmakers, according to court documents released Friday.
As rendered in the court documents, another email between senior staff members described Mr. Walker’s taking a personal interest in how the work of conservative committees was orchestrated, saying that Mr. Walker wanted all contributions to go to the Club for Growth.
“As the governor discussed ... he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run thru one group to ensure correct messaging,” Kate Doner, a fund-raising consultant for Mr. Walker, wrote to R. J. Johnson, the campaign consultant and a major adviser to the Club for Growth. “We had some past problems with multiple groups doing work on ‘behalf’ of Gov. Walker and it caused some issues.”
Here's a juicy tidbit from AP, via Politico:
Those who donated to Wisconsin Club for Growth included Gogebic Taconite LLC, which has proposed opening a 4½-mile long iron mine in northern Wisconsin. The company gave $700,000 to Club for Growth in 2011 and 2012. Walker signed legislation last year streamlining state mining requirements and paving the way for the project.
More details from Bloomberg Business Week:
One of the documents unsealed yesterday was an April 15 Milwaukee federal court filing opposing U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa’s subsequent decision to block the probe. In it, lawyers for Schmitz described evidence gathered by an investigator they said underpinned their good-faith belief that Walker and others plotted to shunt donations away from his official campaign organization and to the issue advocacy group.
Contributors to Club for Growth included SAC Capital Advisors LP founder Steven A. Cohen, who gave $1 million one month after another SAC executive met with the governor in 2012, according to the documents.
There are a couple of elements to the illegality, it seems. First, you can't tell a donor, "don't give directly to me, because there are limits on that. Instead, give to (outside group x), and you can give as much as you want, and no one will know you gave, nor how much." Secondly, you can't then coordinate with said group to craft a unified campaign message.
According to the New York Times, among those whose donations Walker successfully shunted to the Club for Growth were the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Kenneth Langone of Home Depot, and Donald Trump.
Here, courtesy of the Journal Sentinel, are some of the original documents released today by the court: