Mark Spreitzer
Press Release

Why buy elections? Why purchase judges? Because Scott Walker asked.

The documents suggest that Governor Walker collaborated and traded favors with lobbyists, third-party shadow groups, and even Donald Trump.

By - Sep 16th, 2016 10:01 am

BELOIT – Earlier this week, The Guardian published a story and previously undisclosed documents that strongly suggest Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin legislative Republicans engaged in an extensive amount of pay-for-play governance, purposeful avoidance of campaign finance law, and outright corruption.

“The planning and sophistication, in addition to the sheer breadth, of this scheme is truly shocking,” Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) said. “It appears that Republicans and Governor Walker illegally laundered massive corporate contributions in violation of campaign finance law. They then funneled money through back channels to protect Supreme Court Justices, who returned the favor by declaring those same campaign finance laws unenforceable so that no one could be prosecuted. To cover himself even more, Governor Walker directed money to vulnerable legislative Republicans who further gutted campaign finance laws.”

The documents suggest that Governor Walker collaborated and traded favors with lobbyists, third-party shadow groups, and even Donald Trump. This included $750,000 in donations to ensure laws were changed to protect a lead paint manufacturer from being held accountable for poisoning children. The documents also contain a $10,000 check to a shadow group with a memo line reading “Because Scott Walker asked.” This group then spent generously to protect Walker and Republican senators from recall.

“Campaign finance laws, in letter and in spirit, require disclosure to give Wisconsin voters some confidence that if money is trading hands between politicians and special interests, at least they will know who is contributing and how much,” Rep. Spreitzer added. “When voters know who contributes, they can hold their elected officials accountable and have a fighting chance against the corrupting influence of big campaign contributions.”

“Governor Walker appears to have not only solicited money that massively exceeded contribution limits, but he did so in a way to deliberately avoid having to disclose any of it. He and his friends then changed the rules to ensure they couldn’t be prosecuted. When there is no disclosure, we now have a perfect, real-life example of how elected officials will absolutely give in to pressure from wealthy corporations who don’t have the best interests of Wisconsin families at heart.”

“We deserve the truth about just how pervasive the influence of corporate dollars is in all three branches of Wisconsin government,” Rep. Spreitzer added. “Is every decision of the legislature and the Wisconsin Supreme Court simply ‘because Scott Walker asked’? What other changes to our laws has Walker commanded in order to appease donors, no matter the damage done to our state?”

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45 thoughts on “Why buy elections? Why purchase judges? Because Scott Walker asked.”

  1. wisconsin fox says:

    Why is this international story buried at the bottom of your website? If anything this very welcome giant floodlight shining on “Evil Scott” should be front and center, in your biggest font.

  2. happyjack27 says:

    Where are AG and WCD?

    I want to watch them do their turd-polishing on this one. Always entertaining.

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    They have been suspiciously quiet since this story broke last week. I’m sure they’ll defend Walker similarly to how Christian Schneider did. His defense was published so quickly it’s like he had it written already.

  4. AG says:

    Why would I defend something I think is shady? The best I can do is point out the democrats are doing just as shady stuff… but I don’t believe two wrongs make a right, so that’s not a valid defense.

  5. happyjack27 says:

    I don’t believe democrats are doing just as shady stuff. Glad to see that you avoid ad hominem tu quoque, bur replacing it with false dilemna / argument to moderation and baseless accusations isn’t much better — arguably worse.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    If you are talking about Democrats in this state, I don’t think they are just as shady or doing anything like this. However, there’s no doubt that corporations and the mega-rich are spending a lot of money to influence politicians, and not all those politicians are Republicans.

  7. AG says:

    I used to be a Feingold supporter, mainly because of his campaign finance reform. No longer, he’s just as bad now as any of them. Further, I don’t like PAC’s because it’s WAY too easy to abuse (as evidenced) and dilutes the voice of the “common man.” However, if anyone thinks Democrats in this state aren’t up to the same shenanigans then they’re living in a fantasy land. This is one of the biggest reasons politics has gotten so divisive and corrupt in recent times.

  8. happyjack27 says:

    Politics in the U.S. is so divisive because republicans stubbornly refuse to accept facts and reality.

  9. Vincent Hanna says:

    Can you share an example AG? What’s a Democratic equivalent of what Walker did here? Did Doyle do something similar? Democrats have so little power in this state it seems unlikely they’ve done the equivalent in recent times. Not that they won’t, but that they can’t since they are in the minority. And yeah the PAC’s are awful and so detrimental to good governance.

  10. happyjack27 says:

    Perhaps there’s a similar example in a different state?

    I’m sure AG wasn’t just blowing smoke. He must have had an example in mind.

  11. AG says:

    Are you both kidding right now? You really don’t think any state democrats work with PACs on aligning their campaigns? Nor do you think any state democrats reward their contributors who support them financially?

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    First of all, neither of us said that. So again, what’s a comparable example to what The Guardian revealed last week? Hundreds of thousands of dollars donated and friendly legislation quietly and unconstitutionally inserted in the middle of the night. When did state Democrats last do that? I’m sure they coordinate with PACs. No argument there. Not what I’m talking about. I’m also sure they help out donors. But what has risen to the level of what happened here?

  13. happyjack27 says:

    Something analgous to this article. Not looking to compare mountains and moleholes.

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    Or maybe you think it’s all the same. This seems a lot different to me, but maybe you disagree.

  15. AG says:

    Vincent, what do you mean/what are you talking about then? Those things you just listed is exactly what this press release is about.

    This stuff is happening all the time… we just finally get a clearer picture of it b/c of the leaked John Doe emails that gave us a look into the inner conversations that we never get the chance to see.

  16. Vincent Hanna says:

    It’s not rocket science. I didn’t think you had an example.

  17. happyjack27 says:

    AG, so are you saying that you’re just speculating and you don’t actually have any evidence to support your accusation?

  18. happyjack27 says:

    “Those things you just listed is exactly what this press release is about.”

    The press release is about Scott Walker – a Republican.

    You said:

    “he best I can do is point out the democrats are doing just as shady stuff…”
    \
    Do you have any examples of Democrats doing “just as shady stuff”?

  19. AG says:

    No, in order to get the definitive proof similar to Walker we’d have to open an unrelated John Doe investigation and then have someone illegally leak information. Otherwise we’ll have to just use common sense. Then again, I highly highly doubt One Wisconsin Now ever communicates with the Democrat party nor partakes in the same types of shenanigans we see above.

    It baffles me how you’ve convinced yourself (HappyJack) that this is only Republicans. At least Vincent admits it takes place, even if he believes at a different level (since they don’t have the governors mansion). Sooner you realize the current political system is screwed up all around, the better off you’ll be.

  20. happyjack27 says:

    Could you point out where I said that only republicans work with PACs on aligning their campaigns? I don’t recall saying that.

    I guess to me common sense is that to make such an extraordinary accusation as the one exposed by this leak – with collusion among different branches of government — one you need pretty strong evidence.

    And then to claim equivalence between both parties simple because evidence comes out that one party does it doesn’t seem to me to be a very rational approach. It sounds like making excuses – it’s sounds like you’re trying to paint the other side as equally corrupt without having any evidence. And that’s nothing new at all that’s a political tactic that’s unfortunately quite pervasive. In psychologically they call it deflecting. In critical thinking they call it false balance or false equivalence.

    In any case you claimed that you could “point out that democrats are doing just as shady stuff” when, in fact — as you have now admitted — you cannot.

  21. AG says:

    See Happyjack, this is why having these conversations with you is pointless. You parse other’s words to the nth degree and not only end up misinterpreting the words themselves (as you did in this case) but you completely miss the point others are trying to make.

    Your desire to be a partisan defender hinders any chance of gaining real enlightenment that one can obtain through a fruitful conversation with someone of an alternative viewpoint. At this point, trying to exchange ideas with you in these comment sections just ends up being two sides talking past each other instead of an actual sharing of viewpoints. Not that we should be surprised, this is an internet comment section, after all.

  22. happyjack27 says:

    No, you made a claim that you cannot support. And now that you are being challenged on it you’ve tried to fanagle that claim and distort your own words (and ours, for that matter) and walk it back. And me and Vincent aren’t letting you do that. And now you’re salty.

    And now that you’ve given up on that approach you are turning it into a character attack on me.

    You can’t just shoot off random baseless accusations like that. Hopefully this’ll be a lesson to you make sure you actually have examples at the ready and are prepared to back up your assertions before you make them.

  23. happyjack27 says:

    …that, or simply not make claims that you don’t know to be true.

    And endeavor to make a sharper distinction between what you think and feel and what can be demonstrated empirically.

  24. I stand with Walker says:

    You want proof of how Dems do equal things? Let’s take a look at the Clinton Foundation. Let’s take a look at Bill Clinton’s sexcapades. Let’s see how slashing tires on vans owned by the RNC in Milwaukee by the son of a Democratic rep works for you. Let’s look at former Governor Doyle and his money grabbing self. How many government jobs did he give to his supporters? How much money did he take from the DOT to support his “friends”? “People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.”

  25. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Is “I stand with Walker” a paid Koch poster, or just a gutless dope? I’m going with paid Koch/GOP operative, given the anti-Dem.talking points.

    Either way, he didn’t defend Walker crooked sliminess, did he? Because you can’t defend this garbage, righties. OWN IT

  26. WashCoRepub says:

    Very well said, ‘I Stand with Walker.’ It’s amazing how much the Dems have disowned Jim Doyle since he slithered his way off the public stage… shockingly, I actually think he’s now considered too ‘corporatist’ among the current crop of Castro/Sanders/Warren soak the rich enthusiasts.

  27. happyjack27 says:

    I guess I’m looking for something, anything, “just as shady” as what’s described in the article.

    You know, some evidence that AG wasn’t just talking out of his a**.

  28. happyjack27 says:

    Actually no, I’m not looking for that anymore, because he already admitted that he was just talking out of his a**. That he was making character attacks in an effort to deflect from some serious political corruption that’s inconvenient for his political persuassion.

    We all knew this of course, from the get-go.

    And now you guys take that as a welcome sign to fling a bunch of random offensive GOP talking points, like this was a Trump rally where you just go on a reckless violent rampage and its all so cathartic and it feels great.

    Really disgusting.

  29. AG says:

    “IstandwithWalker” and “WaschcoRep”, HappyJack’s post above shows you why you shouldn’t bother to play this game. There’s a certain nastiness and willful blindness tied to his ideological loyalty that you won’t be able to break through. He’s really just trolling for opportunities to lash out. Don’t feed into that. The absolute best case is responses like Jake’s where they dismiss you as a paid poster. Not worth it, especially since the situation in the article itself isn’t exactly solid ground to stand on to begin with.

  30. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Hey rightie trolls- Doyle looks like Bob F-ing La Follette compared to the money-laundering sleaze that is Walker and the WisGOPs in the 2010s. And don’t you EVER claim to have “Christian values” when all you support such a dishonest, amoral bum and try the “I know you are but what am I” defense to avoid having to deal with the reality that you back a crook.

    OWN IT.

  31. happyjack27 says:

    Rightie trolls are making my point for me. I say “all you’re doing is flinging random ad hominem red herrings to deflect from emarassing corruption”. And how do they respond? Well of course! They fling more random ad hominem red herrings! This time presumably to deflect from their embarassing flinging or random ad hominem red herrings.

    I dare say it’s somewhat amusing. I’m sure it will get old from repetition soon enough.

  32. Jason says:

    Let me get this straight. Paint companies have not used lead in their paint in fifty years. Trial lawyers are suing paint companies that have not used lead in their paint in fifty years. The trial lawyers then go even further and sue companies that make paint that did not exist or were not in the paint business fifty years ago. Seriously. Why not sue Coca cola and Monster beverages for their contribution to diabetes while your at it. Why not sue the vehicle company Tesla for not having airbags in vehicles fifty years ago. The left is always out to destroy the private sector but when lead pipes happen to lay in Milwaukee the Liberals go quiet. We can’t find money in the city budget for infrastructure. We have to take care of the Democratic machine.

  33. happyjack27 says:

    You somehow managed to get that horribly wrong.

    “Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a measure aimed at retroactively shielding paint makers from liability after a billionaire owner of a lead producer contributed $750,000 to a political group that provided crucial support to Walker and Republicans in recall elections, according to a report released Wednesday.”

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/14/report-lead-paint-makers-helped-gov-walker/90349256/

  34. happyjack27 says:

    Let me try to dumb it down a little for you:
    1. A lead paint producer donated nearly a million dollars to a group that was crucial in Walker and Republicans in recall election.
    2. Walker and Republicans passed a law PREVENTING people from being able to sue lead paint companies for actual harm to actual children due to lead point purchased long after the companies were well aware of its harmful effects.
    3. This law is “retroactive”, which means it’s not just on a go-forward basis. It applies even to all previous infractions.

    So now people who were harmed by the companies’ — at best — willful and informed negligence — can not seek compensation.

  35. happyjack27 says:

    …for, you know, brain damage to their kids.

  36. Jason says:

    Well, I guess I will sue the Milwaukee Sentinel for Ink poisoning. I guess I will sue the maker of Atari gaming because my computer screen may lead to epilepsy. The Confederacy had slavery I will sue the Union. This smart phone is to close to my scrotum and I can’t have kids. I will sue Prime Co. and Ameritech. I slipped at a Macy and I will sue Marshall Fields.

  37. Jason says:

    News flash. Their are no lead paint companies. They died like the Dinosaurs.

  38. Vincent Hanna says:

    AG why are you defending trolls? Regardless of how you feel about jack, I don’t understand why you stick up for trolls.

  39. happyjack27 says:

    Jason I’m sorry about all of your bad experiences but I don’t think that would be a proportional response and i don’t think you’d make much legal headway.

  40. happyjack27 says:

    And while I understand it you may have difficulty seeing the fine subtle ethical difference between knowingly poisoning children and having a floor, i assure you, the distinction is not slight.

  41. I stand with Walker says:

    happyjack27: can you prove any of your points with facts of your own or anyone else’s? Talk like yours is cheap. Sorry you do nothing but blame others for the failures of your own party. By the way..who put the lead pipes into the ground around those 80,000 homes? Someone from the past 20 years now owning a business? Why isn’t Barrett giving us a plan for what to do and spelling it out for the lead pipes, but has a plan to get his trolley all over the place? Can you please defend this action?

  42. madhya462 says:

    I take the time to read through the comments on nearly every article on UM, painful as that can be at times.. No, I’ve never been inclined to add my own thoughts to the dialogue. But — I just have to say, I have never wanted to smash my head into the keyboard so violently and so thoroughly as I do after reading the exchanges above.

    This should be clear cut, this should be simple. We should all be disgusted, outraged, ashamed… this should be so beyond partisanship. How did these people get so caught up in their blind defense of WI republicans that they forgot their humanity? If you can’t see why this is wrong and can’t muster the integrity to deal with it, then I have a problem with you on a basic human level. I don’t want to share this place with your kind any more.

  43. I stand with Walker says:

    The article “suggest” something was done illegally here. From the viewpoint of an opponent of any conservative matters, I want more PROOF than a “suggestion”.

  44. I stand with Walker says:

    Rep. Spreitzer, where were you when Doyle took 60million from the Potowatami for his campaign and gave them what they wanted? Or looked the other way? Where were you during the ACT 10 talks? Nice to know you have the convictions to keep lock step with your party. Just too bad you can’t see beyond the writings and get your own facts. Try looking things up and asking questions instead of coming out with personal “feelings” to write stories. Have an open mind.

  45. Vincent Hanna says:

    If what Doyle did was wrong, does that mean what Walker did is wrong too? It would have to mean that right? Or are you saying neither one is wrong?

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