Last week, former Virginia Governor Republican Bob McDonnell became the first Virginia governor to be convicted of a felony, with a federal grand jury finding him guilty of 11 counts of corruption. Across the country, another GOP Governor, Scott Walker, faces questions stemming from an investigation into his own potentially felonious behavior, as highlighted by recent editorials in his hometown newspapers. Indeed, the most recent documents released in the John Doe investigation into Walker illustrate his alleged centrality to a criminal scheme to illegally coordinate campaign spending with an outside group, Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The New York Times editorial board last week pointed to a $700,000 contribution from a large mining company to Wisconsin Club for Growth, timed closely with Walker signing pro-mining legislation into law, as evidence that the Governor and his aides “brazenly violated state campaign finance regulations”:
Newly released documents show that the mine operator, Gogebic Taconite, secretly gave $700,000 to a political group that was helping the governor win a 2012 recall election. Mr. Walker had urged big corporations to give unlimited amounts, without fear of public disclosure, and many companies that wanted favors from the state happily obliged. Once the recall failed, the favors began to flow, even at the expense of the state’s natural resources.
But perhaps even more damning for Walker are a pair of editorials from two of the local Wisconsin publications that have been tracking the investigation most doggedly, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the La Crosse Tribune. Both editorial boards not only offer strong rebukes for the Governor’s scheme to raise money in support of his campaign during the 2012 recall election, but emphasize the importance of the John Doe investigation itself.
The Journal-Sentinel points to the Gogebic Taconite donation as just one reason why the investigation into Walker’s campaign “must continue,” and dismisses claims from the Governor and his allies that the investigation is merely a political “witch hunt”:
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear arguments this week in the appeal of a misguided decision by a federal judge to shut down the John Doe investigation into Walker’s campaign and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. The appeals court should throw out that decision and give citizens a chance to learn what happened.
In decrying the influence with Governor Walker that the $700,000 donation appears to have bought the mining company, the La Crosse Tribune makes a key point about the necessity of the probe:
To those inclined to criticize the John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker, consider this: Absent the investigation, Gogebic Taconite’s $700,000 investment in the 2012 gubernatorial recall campaign would have remained forever secret.
As each editorial highlights, it’s critically important that the investigation into Scott Walker be allowed to continue, as each revelation from the investigation raises more and more questions about potentially illegal activity by Governor Walker, his staff and his allies.
Published: Sep 8, 2014