Is Walker a Russian Dupe?
Did he get Russian donations that were funneled through NRA?
My April 23 WisOpinion column, “The NRA, Russia and Governor Walker”, highlighted the connections between shady Russian operatives, including Maria Butina, the NRA and Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker. The story for Wisconsinites was based on crackerjack reporting from McClatchy, Politico, Time and the Washington Post. There is renewed interest nationally and in Wisconsin with the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s indictment of Butina on Monday, July 16. The story is above the fold on front pages of newspapers, broadcast by TV-radio and all over the web. Walker is in the spotlight.
Butina has been charged by DOJ “with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States” and for failure to register as a Russian agent. The DOJ said: “Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government (Alexander Torshin) … to act as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with U.S. persons and infiltrating organizations (e.g., NRA) having influence in American politics for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation”.
Throughout the unfolding Russia scandal the former hawkish Walker has had the same dodged response: “I’ll leave that up to the people we elect to represent us in the federal government” (February); “I’ll leave that up to the people elected to federal office” (April) and “I’ll leave that up to federal folks” (July). However, Butina’s indictment has forced Walker’s hand. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: Walker met Butina through the NRA, the FBI hasn’t “contacted” him and he greeted Butina in Russian because (Walker) “took Russian in college”.
However, there is more to Walker’s story. Butina and her handler Torshin developed a tight relationship with the NRA, including its president, David Keene (2011—2013). Former Wisconsinite Keene strongly supports Walker. The NRA has spent about $3.5 million to elect Walker (Wisconsin Public Radio). Moreover, McClatchy and Politico report that the FBI and the Federal Election Commission are investigating illegal Russian contributions to the NRA to help Trump. What does Keene know?
There’s more. “In April 2015, Butina and Torshin traveled to Tennessee to attend a political fundraiser for a political group backing the presidential campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then viewed as a leading contender for the GOP nomination. In July, she (Butina) attended Walker’s campaign kickoff in Wisconsin” (Time). Too many coincidences. Is Walker a Russian dupe or just a useful idiot?
Bill Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009
- Op Ed: Is Walker a Russian Dupe? - Bill Kaplan - Jul 24th, 2018
- Gov. Scott Walker Political Operation Snagged $250,000 Check Mere Days After Meeting With Accused Russian Spy - One Wisconsin Now - Jul 20th, 2018
- What’s Walker Hiding? - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Jul 18th, 2018
- Campaign Cash: Russian Operative Highlights Walker’s NRA Ties - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Jul 18th, 2018
- Matt Flynn Blasts Scott Walker for Meeting with Russian Spy - Matt Flynn - Jul 16th, 2018
- Plenty of Horne: Giuliani Can’t Practice Law in D.C. - Michael Horne - Jun 28th, 2018
- Pocan Statement Regarding Reports that Russian-Linked Facebook Ads Targeted Wisconsin - U.S. Rep Mark Pocan - Oct 4th, 2017
- Wisconsin Notified of Unsuccessful Russian Hacking Attempt - Wisconsin Elections Commission - Sep 22nd, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Wisconsin A Key State for Russian Hacking - Bruce Murphy - Aug 8th, 2017
- Report Suggests Wisconsin Voters Targeted by Collusion Between Trump Campaign, Russian Fake News Operation - One Wisconsin Now - Jul 13th, 2017
Read more about Russian Affair here