In an interview on Ohio Christian University’s “Faith & Liberty” radio show posted last week, potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said that President Obama doesn’t “have the same worldview” as the typical American. Carson, who has previously implied that Obama is a Nazi and a communist, said that the president is bent on introducing “government control of everything” by “getting rid of God” in order to bring about communism.You look through history, you look at Cuba, you look at Russia, you look at a lot of places that have a socialist/communist base, but previously they didn’t have that and they were a free society. What happened that’s common in every one of those societies? Two basic things. You get rid of God — and you see the attack on God in our country that is going on right now — that’s number one because you have to replace God with your dogma, you have to become the primary authority of everything. And the second thing you have to do is you have to gain control of your people, and the best way to do that is you take over health care. Everybody needs health care, you get control of that. Get rid of God, get control of health care and you’re well on your way to fundamentally changing society.
He also lashed out at the media for its supposed liberal bias, warning that the left-wing bias has become so egregious that it is “destroying” America…except for Fox News, of course, which he said has saved America from Obama’s socialist schemes.
Carson hailed Fox News, where he works as a contributor, for stopping Obama from turning America into Cuba: “If there were no Fox News and if there was no conservative radio, we would already be Cuba. I know [Obama] realizes that they’re impeding his agenda of fundamentally transforming this nation into something else, the sad thing is that a lot of the people that agree with him and support him have no idea what they’re wishing for.”
He went on to say that liberals in the media seek to “demonize” and “destroy” their opponents, something Fox News would never do.
While he praised Fox News and conservative talk radio, Carson said the media “failed our society” by “taking sides” in political debates.
He recounted a story where he apparently out-argued and shamed “two senior editors of a major national newspaper” until they admitted that they were biased in favor of Obama and enabling him to “ignore laws” and “ignore the Constitution” and therefore “contributing to the destruction of our society.”
Ben Carson must be lying out of his ass if he believes that “Fox News doesn’t demonize the other side.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Hillary Clinton will “probably” decide after Jan. 1, 2015, whether she will run for president in 2016, she said Friday. “I am going to be making a decision around probably after the first of the year,” Clinton told the crowd in Mexico City, where she was speaking at a event for a organization founded by billionaire Carlos Slim, according to the Associated Press.
Clinton had previously said in June that it was “probably likely” she wouldn’t make an announcement until 2015 and that she would start seriously weighing the possibility after the November midterm elections.
As MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald noted, Clinton announced her 2008 campaign on Jan. 20, 2007.
Dallas Morning News ' Wayne Slater Tells National Media "Perry Has Bigger Problems Than ... Conventional Wisdom Suggests"
Maddow Urges Viewers To Read Texas Press About The Case.
From the 08.21.2014 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:
A Republican congressman and his party’s nominee for Iowa Secretary of State are accusing Democrats of a secret plan to rig the upcoming election. But rather than take this warning of impending election fraud to the police, they took it to their fundraising email list.
Democrats and Republicans have paid close attention to Secretary of State campaigns, especially in swing states, ever since the disputed presidential election of 2000. After all, Secretaries of State from Katherine Harris in Florida 2000 to Ken Blackwell in 2004 showed just how influential the office can be in close races.
That’s why Republicans in Iowa are pulling out all the stops to keep control of the Secretary of State seat, especially in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
In an email sent on July 28th on behalf of Republican Secretary of State nominee Paul Pate’s campaign, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) accused Democrats of rigging Minnesota’s 2008 Senate election on behalf of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), using their control of the Secretary of State office. The result was razor-thin, with Franken ultimately topping then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by just 312 votes. Though King didn’t make a specific accusation, Politifact has rated similar claims of fraud as “false.”
“This wasn’t a fair recount,” King wrote Pate’s supporters. “This was a democrat plan put into action two years in advance of Coleman’s re-election campaign.”
However, rather than just re-litigating a close election in the past, King used the episode to warn about Democrats’ supposed intentions for Iowa’s upcoming elections. “There is an important U.S. Senate race in Iowa this year, and Senator Grassley will be up for re-election two years from now,” King wrote. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what they are up to.”
Read an excerpt of the email here:
Ironically, the most pernicious developments in election law over the past few election cycles haven’t been organized election fraud like King describes, but Republican-led efforts to suppress votes. These measures have ranged from requiring photo identification to vote to rolling back state laws that permit voter registration on Election Day. While supporters of these voting restrictions often argue they are necessary to prevent voter fraud — a virtually nonexistent crime — the laws tend to make it harder for minorities, seniors, students, and poor people to vote. After the 2012 election, Republican officials in Florida admitted that their slew of election law changes were intended to target Democrats.
Pate said he supports bringing voter ID to Iowa, a move that could disenfranchise thousands of Iowa voters, but said he hopes it will be a bipartisan initiative. Implementing voter ID has long been a goal of Pate’s; in 2010 he endorsed (and chaired) current Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s (R) campaign by noting that “He will stop voter fraud by instituting a photo ID, reforming same-day registration, and creating a crime stoppers hotline for voter fraud in Iowa.”
Nationwide, a conservative PAC was recently formed to boost conservative Secretary of State candidates. The organization, SOS for SoS, is preparing to spend $10 million in nine states this year, including in Iowa. A liberal PAC, SoS for Democracy, is looking to provide a counterweight this year.
Claiming the “benefit to risk ratio” was surely enough to disincentivize the return of the two Americans with Ebola from Liberia, presidential wannabe and virulent anti-welfare advocate, Dr. Ben Carson, derides the thought of the two Ebola-ridden Americans entering this country under any precautions. Since an Ebola fatality occurred in Nigeria, it is a fait accompli that bringing these two Americans home to treat them in a thoroughly quarantined facility potentially exposes the whole nation. Carson claims Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol could very well have been treated outside the United States. The neurosurgeon and hater of all things Obamacare blames who else: President Obama.
Mike Huckabee told a gathering of anti-gay activists that the United States is becoming like communist China and defended his recent claim that President Obama deserves to be impeached.
Huckabee was speaking at the third annual Family Leadership Summit, hosted by The Family Leader and sponsored by anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage and FRC Action. The event was held in Ames, Iowa, and was attended by potential 2016 Republican candidates including Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, and Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Speaking on August 9 about his recent China trip, Huckabee noted the country’s policies regarding trade, human rights, one child and forced abortions, and observed: "After we came back, I assessed that what was most disturbing was that China was becoming a lot more like the United States used to be, and America was becoming a whole lot more like China used to be." Huckabee added that America, like China whitewashing the Tiananmen Square massacre, has “completely rewritten our history” to remove God from textbooks. The Fox News host has made similar pronouncements on his show and elsewhere in the right-wing media.
During a media availability, Huckabee defended his recent declaration that President Obama has committed impeachable offenses. Huckabee began by claiming “I don’t think we’re going to have an impeachment, don’t think we even should because there’s no point and it’s not gonna go through.” However, Huckabee still argued President Obama is worthy of impeachment because of his alleged abuse of “the basic constitutional powers,” citing Obamacare and the DREAM Act.
The Family Leader is an anti-gay group headed by the virulently homophobic activist Bob Vander Plaats. The Iowa group gained notoriety during the 2012 presidential election when it asked candidates to sign a homophobic “marriage vow.” The pledge attacked same-sex relationships as a choice and threat to “individual and public health.” The vow also suggested African-American children were better when they were slaves (the group later retracted that language).
Vander Plaats has said gays are a “public health risk” similar to smoking, and claimed of marriage quality: “[W]hat we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God, which means, again, it’s against the Constitution.” He warned against attending an anti-bullying conference, claiming that doing so “is exchanging truth for acceptance and tolerance of harmful behavior.”
Huckabee is a longtime ally of Vander Plaats, who served as Iowa chair for the former Arkansas governor’s presidential campaign in 2008. He endorsed and fundraised for Vander Plaats’ unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Huckabee regularly speaks at gatherings of anti-gay groups. The pairing is natural, as Huckabee has said he opposes marriage equality because of “the ick factor,” labeled same-sex relationships an “aberration” and once called for AIDS patients to be quarantined.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) is adamant this is his last term as chairman — but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to leave House leadership.
Israel told The Hill in an exclusive interview that he will not seek a third term after the 2014 elections but wants to keep a seat at the leadership table. That could lead to some interesting machinations next winter, unless someone in House leadership decides to retire.“I’ve really enjoyed doing this for two terms, but I believe that two terms is the maximum that anybody should chair a committee,” Israel told The Hill. “I will support our leadership’s decision and choice for DCCC chair as long as it is not Steve Israel.”
The congressman, a close confidante of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said he’d like to remain in a top spot with the party, though.
“I’ve always enjoyed being in leadership. I hope to continue to have a voice in leadership. But that’s not my decision, that’s the decision of my colleagues in leadership and in the caucus. But I’ve really enjoyed being in leadership,” Israel said.
It’s unclear how that would occur without a retirement or the creation of a new leadership role, however. All five Democratic leadership slots are occupied by members who have shown no signs of retiring or stepping aside.
Israel has long been expected to step aside as DCCC head after this term, and his trio of deputies are all said to be interested in the slot. He had kind words for all three, praising Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Jim Himes (D-Conn.).
“Donna Edwards has done an extraordinary job of recruiting. Jared Polis is one of our best fundraisers and just has a real sense of what has to happen in our campaigns. Jim Himes has just crushed it as our national finance chair. We have newer members like Lois Frankel, who got 100 percent of our members to pay dues. And there are so many others,” he said. “I’m sure our leader will choose somebody who is both operational and somebody who has a good handle on the issues to succeed me.”
Israel wasn’t as keen on predicting what will happen in 2014, repeatedly refusing to prognosticate about whether Democrats have any chance at retaking the House (which Pelosi has said is possible and most prognosticators think isn’t), win seats (which looks tough) or hold losses to a minimum (which most Democrats quietly admit would be a win).
“Our job is not to predict, it is to prepare,” he said. “The one thing I can tell you about this cycle is, it is so volatile, for us and for them. I will see a poll on a Frontliner [incumbent] or a challenger one week that makes me grin from ear to ear, and then a week later, I will see a poll on the same candidate that makes me frown. Republicans know it, and I know it. It is an extremely volatile environment.”
Israel said the biggest challenge the party faces this fall is midterm voter drop-off, and said they were working to counter that by doubling the DCCC’s historic budget on field operations and have 500 paid field staff, the most in the campaign’s history.
He downplayed concerns that President Obama’s poor approval ratings could hurt Democrats, pointing out that many of the most competitive House races are in Illinois, California and New York, states where Obama’s numbers have held up a bit better.
He also said that two of his party’s two most popular surrogates, Bill and Hillary Clinton, were likely to appear on the campaign trail more and more between now and November.
“I’ve had several conversations with the Clintons,” he said. “She has said that she wants to be engaged. … As soon as they’re ready to work out some of the logistical details, we are ready to go.”
About time Steve Israel quits the DCCC leadership after this election.
h/t: Cameron Joseph at The Hill
We are now officially at a tipping point in marriage equality. We’re likely to have marriage equality nationwide before the 2016 presidential election. Wow.
During a Wednesday appearance on the conservative radio show “Faith & Victory,” Rep. Michele Bachmann accused the “gay community” of pushing “deviancy,” “tyranny” and child rape.
The Minnesota Republican warned that the gay community will “abolish age of consent laws, which means we will do away with statutory rape laws so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually. That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today.”
She also predicted that gay rights advocates will legalize polygamy and enact “hate speech laws across the United States” in order to bring about “the rise of tyranny.”
The Republican congresswoman and former presidential candidate once again attacked the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act as a “denial of equal protection for all Americans.”
“This is a revolution that we are encountering now,” she said of marriage equality. “For all of the thousands of years of recorded human history, about 5,000 years, there is no instance of any culture, nation or tribe ever having as the established standard for marriage anything other than between man and woman. It may have been multiple women and a man, it may have been something like that, but it was always between men and women.”
She decried marriage equality as a “radical experiment” that will have “profound consequences:” “I think that nature tells us, our biology tells us that marriage is between man and a woman, when we tamper with something that was generated by the Creator of the Universe, I think there are profound consequences that we haven’t yet realized.”
After all that, Bachmann insisted that she was communicating a message of love for gay people and that conservatives must show the nation that God “is so much more powerful than the evil we see unleashed upon the world today.”
“Our message is to spread goodness and joy and wholeness and healing, and we do that through a loving God with a message that frees people, it doesn’t enslave people, we shouldn’t fear giving out this very good word,” Bachmann said. “It takes these concepts for the purpose of bringing liberty, joy, healing, wholeness and a fresh way of thinking for people’s lives.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
A proposal to divide California into six states has received enough signatures to make the November 2016 ballot. Here’s how.
Venture capitalist Timothy Draper’s Six Californias initiative tweeted Monday that he planned to file the signatures Tuesday in Sacramento.
A spokesman for the campaign, Roger Salazar, told Reuters that that the initiative had gathered more than the roughly 808,000 signatures needed to place it on the November 2016 ballot.
"It’s important because it will help us create a more responsive, more innovative and more local government, and that ultimately will end up being better for all of Californians," Salazar told Reuters. "The idea … is to create six states with responsive local governments - states that are more representative and accountable to their constituents."
Draper has invested $750,000 of his own money in the initiative, which would partition Silicon Valley off from the rest of the state. A Field Poll conducted in February found that 59 percent of residents opposed Draper’s plan, however, and even if voters were to approve the measure it would still require the approval of the U.S. Congress.
Florida’s congressional districts are some of the most GOP-friendly in the country. Although President Obama won a narrow victory over Mitt Romney in Florida during the 2012 presidential election, Republicans control 17 of the state’s 27 congressional districts. That means that, even though Obama won a majority of the votes cast by Floridians in 2012, Romney’s Republican Party controls nearly two-thirds of Florida’s U.S. House delegation.
On Thursday, a Florida trial court held that the congressional maps that produced this lopsided result violate the state’s constitution. Under an amendment added to the Florida Constitution in 2010, “[n]o apportionment plan or district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.” The amendment also provides protection against certain kinds of racial gerrymanders, and it establishes a preference for districts that are compact and “utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.”
Judge Terry P. Lewis’s opinion reaches several significant conclusions. He strikes down two congressional districts — Districts 5 & 10 — as violations of the state constitution. He also holds that “[i]f one or more districts do not meet constitutional muster, then the entire [redistricting] act is unconstitutional.” Thus, if his decision is ultimately upheld, the legislature will need to consider an entirely new map — although Judge Lewis adds that this holding does not mean that “portions of the map not affected by those individual districts found to be improperly drawn would need to be changed in a redrawn map.” He also relies upon a prior Florida Supreme Court decision holding that districts typically “should not have an unusual shape, a bizarre design, or an unnecessary appendage” and that districts containing “finger-like extensions, narrow and bizarrely shaped tentacles, and hook like shapes … are constitutionally suspect and often indicative of racial and partisan gerrymandering.”
Which brings us to the shape of the districts at issue in this case. Here is the relevant portion of Florida’s congressional map:
CREDIT: FLORIDA DIVISION OF ELECTIONS
That purple, worm-like thing that starts near the northeast corner of the state and then twists almost all the way down to its midpoint, that’s District 5. District 10 is the one directly below District 5. Though more compact in shape than a purple worm, District 10 has what Judge Lewis describes as “an odd-shaped appendage which wraps under and around District 5, running between District 5 and 9.” As Lewis notes, Districts 5, 7, 9 and 10 are shaped the way they are in part because a Republican political consultant suggested that they be redrawn in a way that transformed them “from being four Democratic performing or leaning seats in early maps … to two Democratic and two Republican performing seats in the enacted map.” So Republicans likely picked up two congressional seats because of the odd design of these districts.
Indeed, Lewis discusses significant evidence that Republican lawmakers colluded with Republican operatives regarding the maps. Early in the process, Republican legislative leaders met with a group of GOP political operatives and a top Republican lawyer to discuss redistricting. The deputy chief of staff to Florida’s then-house speaker shared draft maps with a particular Republican consultant at least 24 times. In some cases, he provided this GOP consultant “with draft maps that were never released to the public.”
Yet, while Judge Lewis’s opinion reaches some damning conclusions about the current congressional maps, Thursday’s decision is far from a total victory for the plaintiffs in this case. Those plaintiffs challenged nine of Florida’s congressional districts, but Lewis only struck down two.
Nevertheless, his opinion is a significant victory over one of the most gerrymandered maps in the nation, and it also an important proof of concept. The United States Supreme Court, or, at least, its conservative members, have thus far refused to allow federal courts to consider partisan redistrict cases because they claim they are unable to identify a “manageable standard” that judges can use to decide these cases. Yet Judge Lewis was able to uncover and apply a standard he could use to judge Florida’s maps. His decision on Thursday casts a cloud of doubt over the conservative justices’ decisions regarding partisan gerrymandering.
Should the Supreme Court permit the federal judiciary to examine unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders, it is likely that Florida will not be the only state whose maps will fail judicial scrutiny. Florida is one of several states with maps that are heavily gerrymandered to benefit Republicans:
BREAKING: The GOP has selected Cleveland, Ohio for the site of #RNC2016.
The RNC’s coming to Cleveland in 2016. Cue up The Drew Carey Show's theme song Cleveland Rocks!
NEW: Republican National Committee picks Cleveland as 2016 RNC Convention host. @NBCPolitics— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 8, 2014
MORE: The full 168-member RNC is expected to ratify the choice next month: http://t.co/aO7Rk3lsUu— The Associated Press (@AP) July 8, 2014
#WIGov: Scott Walker says probe into his campaign finances is "resolved." | Rated: Pants On Fire False
A secret criminal investigation made national news with the disclosure that prosecutors had alleged Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and others.
But the next day, the Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate said the John Doe probe had been resolved and that two judges had said it was “over.”
Here is part of the June 20, 2014 interview of Walker by Steve Doocy, host of the network TV talk show “Fox & Friends”:
Doocy: ”So, over the last couple of years, there’s been some legal action out in Wisconsin. And some of the documents were unsealed yesterday. We’ve got to point out, you were never charged with anything. But at one point, they allege that you had a central role in a criminal fund-raising scheme. OK, tell us what you did.”
Walker: ”Well, don’t just take my word for it. Look at the facts. The facts are pretty clear.
"You’ve had not one but two judges — a state judge and a federal judge; a state judge (who is) a well-respected court of appeals judge, and a federal judge more recently — have both looked at this argument. And in the past, not just recently — remember this is not new news, it’s just newly released yesterday because documents were opened — but no charges, case over.
"Both judges said they didn’t buy the argument. They didn’t think that anything was done that was illegal, and so they’ve gone forward and not only said, we don’t buy it, they actually shut the case down, both at the state and at the federal level.
"So, many in the national media and even some here in Wisconsin are looking at this (case) backwards. This is a case that’s been resolved, that not one but two judges have said is over. And we’re just learning about it because it became open in a document yesterday. But there is no argument there."
Is that it?
Is Walker right that the Doe case has been “resolved” and two judges have said it is “over”?
Experts say no. After all, one of the key court rulings that has stalled the investigation is a “preliminary injunction.” And that is on appeal.
What’s the case about?
Under Wisconsin law, a John Doe is “intended as an independent, investigatory tool to ascertain whether a crime has been committed and, if so, by whom.”
Unlike standard criminal investigations, law enforcement officials in a John Doe have special powers, including the power to compel the testimony of reluctant witnesses under oath and to issue subpoenas requiring witnesses to turn over documents.
Another key difference is that the judge overseeing a Doe can — and typically does — order that the proceedings be done in secret, unlike the vast majority of court proceedings.
Walker has been connected to two John Doe investigations.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, conducted a wide-ranging probe of aides and associates to Walker going back to Walker’s time as Milwaukee County executive. That investigation, sometimes known as John Doe I, led to six convictions, ranging from misconduct in office for campaigning on county time to stealing from a veterans fund.Walker was not charged, and that investigation was shut down in March 2013.
Before closing that probe, however, Chisholm launched a separate investigation in the summer of 2012 based on information learned in the first one. To get what has been termed John Doe II off the ground, Chisholm worked with district attorneys from four counties — members of both parties — and the state Government Accountability Board, which administers the state’s elections and ethics laws. Francis Schmitz, a former assistant U.S. attorney and self-described Republican, was named special prosecutor in the case.
Alleigh Marre, spokeswoman for Walker’s campaign, cited two court documents to back Walker’s claim. It’s not clear what she was referring to in the first document, a December 2013 court filing by Schmitz, and she didn’t respond to our request to elaborate.
The second document was a court order that John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson issued on Jan. 10, 2014. It quashed subpoenas that had been issued to Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. And it ordered the return of any property seized with those subpoenas or with search warrants served on two officials of the groups.
But the order did not resolve the case.
Indeed, in his order, Peterson made reference to the possibility of his ruling be appealed. And the order has been challenged and is awaiting a ruling from the state Court of Appeals.
Other legal action
Another key ruling was made in federal court, by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa.
In February 2014, the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O’Keefe sued in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in an attempt to stop the Doe investigation, saying it violated their rights to free speech, free association and equal protection under the law.
Three months later, Randa issued a preliminary injunction halting the probe while he considered the lawsuit. He said it appeared prosecutors were violating the First Amendment rights of Club for Growth and O’Keefe. And he ordered prosecutors to return any material they had gathered in the investigation and destroy whatever copies of it they had made.
But as the term “preliminary injunction” would indicate, that did not mean the case had been resolved or was over.
Indeed, Randa’s ruling has been appealed and the parties are awaiting a decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Experts weigh in
We consulted five attorneys who have represented multiple clients in criminal John Doe investigations — Madison defense attorneys Marcus Berghahn and Stephen Morgan (Morgan is a former state and federal prosecutor); Milwaukee defense attorneys Jeremy Levinson, who also handles campaign finance cases for Democrats, and Raymond Dall’Osto; and Marquette University Law School professor and former state prosecutor Daniel Blinka.
Bottom line: The John Doe investigation case has been stopped for the time being, but it has not been resolved. The rulings by judges Peterson and Randa are not final and are being appealed. The appellate rulings could also be appealed.
And if the Chicago appeals panel overrules Randa, the investigation can resume.
"Once the Court of Appeals decides the merits of the case and if no party appeals the Court of Appeals’ decision, then it may be possible to say that the cases are over — unless the case is returned to the trial court or John Doe Judge for further litigation," said Berghahn.
Said Blinka: “The governor’s remark overlooks the role of the appellate courts. The final resolution is up to the appellate courts, and only when the appellate process has run its course will we have a final resolution.”
It’s notable that at times during his governorship, Walker has been in the position of supporting appeals when a lower-court ruling has gone against him.
In 2012, when judges struck down parts of Walker’s Act 10 — the law ending most collective bargaining for most public employees — the state appealed, and higher courts so far have upheld the law.
And on same-sex marriage, which Walker opposes, he didn’t concede that a ban on gay marriages was dead when a federal judge found Wisconsin’s ban unconstitutional. Indeed, he’s backing the state’s appeal of the judge’s ruling.
Similarly, the status of the Doe case is being hammered out in the appeals process.
Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign has been “resolved” and two judges have said it is “over.”
His characterization is misleading at best. The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling.
But the second ruling, while a serious blow, did not end the probe, and in any event prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned.
We rate Walker’s statement False.
h/t: PolitiFact Wisconsin
Newly unsealed legal documents filed by the State of Wisconsin last December allege that key aides to Republican Gov. Scott Walker illegally coordinated campaign money and programs between several different groups. We took the information in the filing and diagrammed the alleged relationship.
At the center of all of the allegations are two aides to Walker: R. J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl. “For all practical purposes,” the document states, the organization Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) “‘was’ R. J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl.” It was formed as a 501(c)(4) non-profit, as was a sister organization, Citizens for Strong America. Johnson and Jordahl created CFSA; Johnson’s wife was its treasurer.
Johnson and Jordahl also worked as consultants for “Friends of Scott Walker”, the campaign committee defending Walker against a 2012 effort to recall him. Wisconsin state law (and most election law) prohibits agents of a campaign from coordinating with outside groups. This is usually an effort to maintain campaign finance laws: If a campaign could send staff to go tell outside groups, who don’t have any limits on the size of contributions they can accept, then campaign limits wouldn’t serve any purpose.
State prosecutors allege that this is essentially what Johnson and Jordahl did. Fundraisers raised money for both WiCFG and the Walker campaign. WiCFG provided 99.99 percent of CFSA’s funding. CFSA gave money to groups doing work on absentee ballots. WiCFG also gave money to a trade group that ran ads on behalf of Walker (and against opponents).
Johnson was also allegedly involved in either trying to get other organizations involved in the campaign work or directly consulting with other groups on other campaigns, like the Republican Senate Leadership Committee (indicated by the dashed circle at the top of the chart). The documents note that the national Club for Growth organization “raised concerns about coordination or interaction between WiCFG and FOSW as early as 2009.”
Last month, the judge that unsealed the new documents ruled that the probe into the Walker coordination claims should be halted. That decision is being appealed.
Hopefully he gets his ass voted out of office in November. Vote for Mary Burke (D)!!!
h/t: :Philip Bump at WaPo’s The Fix