7 Facts About the Lies, Distortions and Paranoia From the Right-Wing Cabal Defending Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Photo Credit: Office of the Governor - Wisconsin
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Editor’s note: This article is based on reporting by Brendan Fischer and the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy.
If you want further evidence of just how paranoid, partisan and ideologically twisted the defenders of Wisconsin’s union-busting Republican Governor Scott Walker are, consider the latest revelations from the campaign corruption probe that’s getting ready to squeeze a guilt plea from Walker.
First and foremost, the police investigations into Walker’s campaign lawlessness have been led by several elected Republican prosecutors in five Wisconsin counties. That, of course, is exactly the opposite of the line peddled by the Walker-defending Wall Street Journal editorial page—until it turned on Walker this month after hearing his lawyers were seeking a legal settlement.
At the heart of the vast right-wing propaganda tirade has been the claim that out-of-control government prosecutors have raided homes and conducted other civil liberty-crushing affronts to ensnare Walker. But as the seven following facts, taken from recent court documents reveal, those are not just paranoid accusations, they’re deliberate lies.
1. The home of Walker’s top defender wasn’t raided. The description of alleged raids of private homes in Wisconsin's to investigate an illegal web of campaign money laundering has captured the imagination of Republicans across the country as supposed evidence of its political motivations. But in recent court filings, prosecutors note that the individual challenging the awkwardly named “John Doe” investigations in federal court, Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) director Eric O’Keefe, never had his home raided or searched. He only received a subpoena to disclose WCFG records from 2009 to now.
The search warrants were instead executed on the homes of Wisconsin Club for Growth "consultant" (and top Scott Walker campaign advisor) R.J. Johnson and his business partner Deborah Jordahl. This is where the partisan attack verbiage parts ways with the facts, because at least one so-called "raid" that has caused so much consternation among Republicans happened under the supervision of elected Republican sheriffs and prosecutors.
2. Prosecutors leading the probe include elected Republicans. The investigation into Scott Walker breaking election laws has several phases, because the behavior of Walker’s team became increasingly egregious. It began when he was Milwaukee County executive and obtained convictions from Walker staffers who broke laws barring county officials from campaigning while at work. That first “John Doe” investigation has since grown into a look at other electoral money laundering. It is now a state-sanctioned, five-county effort. Five district attorneys from both the Republican and Democratic parties are leading "parallel" investigations in their counties. This is the consequence of a 2007 law pushed by Republican legislators that requires campaign finance violations be prosecuted in the counties where defendants reside.
The Johnsons' home and the offices of Johnson's consulting firm, R.J. Johnson and Associates, are located in Randolph, Wisconsin, which spans Columbia and Dodge counties. The county sheriffs and district attorneys in both counties are Republicans. O’Keefe omitted the Republican prosecutors (not to mention the Republican sheriffs) from his federal lawsuit alleging the investigation was motivated by the Democrats' political animus.
3. The Wall Street Journal editorial page’s source lied. Court proceedings in John Doe cases are supposed to be kept confidential, like their anonymous name implies. But O’Keefe has been leaking selective elements of the story to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, but only those elements that throw mud on the Democratic prosecutors, omitting the Republicans. And that same dishonest line is echoed in their lawsuit to defend Walker.
O'Keefe only named Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, and Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz, whose party affiliation had been unknown but who has since told the court that he is a Republican and voted for Walker. O'Keefe also omitted the Iowa County prosecutor who started the proceeding against him—which, state prosecutors argue, means that the lawsuit can't stop the probe into O'Keefe.