Just-leaked documents reveal illegal activity and a John Doe investigation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was under attack in 2012 by progressive groups who forced a recall election. Walker told his main fundraiser, Kate Doner, to give him some ideas about raising enough money to win the election. She recommended “corporations.”
‘Take Koch’s money. Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson. Ask for $1m now.’
The corporate money began pouring into a third-party dark money group that did not have to disclose its donors. The check registers said, “Because Scott Walker asked.”
Wednesday, a secret organization exclusively leaked 1500 pages of documents to “The Guardian.” The sealed legal filings and emails from Walker, his advisers, and lobbyists show Wisconsin prosecutors conducted a “John Doe investigation” into the Walker campaign’s “suspected campaign finance violations.”
Donald Trump is also a Scott Walker donor. He know exactly how it works. He commented on the campaign trail that he is billionaire, who owns his politicians:
‘When you give to them. They do whatever the hell you want them to do.’
The Open Secret’s Center for Responsive Politics reported $2 billion in corporate cash payments on presidential races, so far. Donors can remain undisclosed, and the campaign finance laws are wildly complex. Electoral authorities rarely examine donations, and prosecutions are even rarer. “The Guardian” received John Doe files that rarely see the light.
Wisconsin’s primarily conservative Supreme Court stopped the investigation in 2015 before investigators were able to bring any charges. In an unusual move, the court even demanded prosecutors destroy all the case’s evidence.
Even though Walker met frequently with big corporations and mega-wealthy donors in 2011 and 2012, during the recall attempt, Scott Walker wrote:
‘Stress the donations to WiCFG (Wisconsin Club for Growth) are not disclosed and can accept Corporate donations without limits.’
People feared the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, would result in “an explosion in real or perceived corruption in the political system.” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion and stated forcefully this would not occur if corporations distanced themselves from the candidates and their campaigns:
‘By definition an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate…(to avoid) the risk that unlimited secret donations are given “as a quid pro quo for improper commitments from the candidate.’
One of the country’s leading manufacturers of lead paint secretly contributed $750,000 to the PAC Wisconsin Club For Growth. Of course, it was no secret that the Republican-led senate and Walker legally (WICfG) changed a law, granting immunity to lead manufacturers. That change meant the manufacturers of lead paint were free from any legal claims against it for lead paint poisoning.
As the lead in Flint, Michigan’s water pipes shows, lead is a strong poison that can affect the brain development of children and cause miscarriages. Since 1978, lead has been banned in household paint.
Even though the federal courts overturned key parts of the new Wisconsin laws, NL Industries, formerly National Lead Company, came close to saving millions of dollars they would have had to pay in court.
An attorney on 171 lawsuits, Peter Earle said this about the ills of lead paint damage:
‘These children were perfectly innocent. They entered life with all the gifts and health that God gave them and were devastated by this neurotoxin.’
Owner of NL Industries Harold Simmons made undisclosed payments to WICfG between April 2011 and January 2012, during GOP senators’ and Walker’s races. Simmons bankrolled $3 million to Swift Boat candidate John Kerry in 2004 in his presidential race against George W. Bush.
Right after Walker came into office, the state legislature tried to change the lead paint liability laws, naming their effort, “Act 2.” The measure basically would have granted immunity to NL Industries and other lead producers from any new claims.
In fewer than 90 days after the new law was in place, Simmons paid $500,000 directly from his business, Contran Corporation, to WICfG. It landed at the time that the six senators were in their recall battles.
An appeals court then cleared NL Industries of causing a public nuisance and dismissed a lawsuit brought by the city for $52.6m.
The secret documents show that, just a month later, Contran Corporation sent WCfG $100,000. Simmons sent the third and last check of $150,000 the following month, from his own personal account to WCfG.
Simmons and Walker tried to get the law to give lead manufacturers retroactive immunity. But they failed to pass it, even after NL Industries paid lobbyists a total of $172,500.
This is why Citizen’s United does not work.
H/T: The Guardian Exclusive.