Prosecutors are investigating Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for allegedly organizing an illegal campaign finance ring to help fight his recall campaign in 2011 and 2012.
In state documents unsealed by a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the Walker, his campaign and two of his top deputies — R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl — are accused of orchestrating a "criminal scheme" to "utilize and direct organizations, as well as other political committees," according to the documents. The group is accused of coordinating 12 conservative non-profit groups and controlling their spending during the hotly contested recall elections in Wisconsin in those years, contrary to Wisconsin's campaign finance laws.
One of the key pieces of evidence in the unsealed documents is a 2011 email sent by Walker to Republican strategist Karl Rove. In the email, Walker appears to explain and endorse the whole scheme, per the Journal-Sentinel:
"Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities)," Walker wrote to Rove on May 4, 2011.
If anything comes from the investigation, it seems like this email would make it difficult for Walker to deny any knowledge or involvement.
The investigation into Walker and his associates is currently on hold, per an order from U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, after a lawsuit from the Wisconsin Club for Growth (a conservative group active during the recall election), alleged the secret "John Doe" investigation infringed on their First Amendment rights. Wisconsin state law allows prosecutors to subpoena witness and documents in so-called "John Doe" probes, without accusing anyone of a crime or even knowing if a crime has been committed. Johnson — the Walker deputy named in the email to Karl Rove — works as a chief adviser for the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
You can check out the entire unsealed documents for yourself here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.