Earlier this month, Wisconsin U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued an injunction that effectively allows outside groups to coordinate with political campaigns on so-called “issue advocacy,” overturning a longstanding Wisconsin campaign finance law banning such coordination. Given that Randa has ties to the the billionaire Koch brothers, who fund several outside groups that would very much like to see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker win reelection, we likened his ruling
to the proverbial fox guarding the campaign finance henhouse.
As it turns out, it’s even a stretch to suggest in jest that Randa is guarding the state’s campaign finance regulations.
In a separate ruling in September, Randa dealt another major blow to Wisconsin campaign finance statute, and the most recent financial disclosures from the Walker campaign show that he’s reaping the benefits from Randa’s newly-created loophole. Last month, Randa ruled
that Wisconsin election officials should no longer enforce laws that cap the amount of money that political candidates — like Walker — can collect from PACs and campaign committees.
Prior to Randa’s ruling, the state’s limit for PAC contributions, which had been in place since 1990, was set at $700,830 for gubernatorial candidates. According to the Walker campaign’s latest campaign finance report
filed last week, the campaign has accepted a whopping $2.6 million from political parties and political action committees. In total, that’s over three times the amount that was allowed by law, and almost $2 million of it coming in just the six weeks after Randa’s determination.
Put simply, Walker’s campaign has swiftly exploited Randa’s ruling on PAC contributions to bolster his campaign in the homestretch.
Walker’s status as a champion for Koch brothers and their allies is well-documented, with the billionaire brothers holding up
his extreme right wing policies as exemplar of their political agenda. After all, prosecutors opened an investigation into illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and a Koch-affiliated group, Wisconsin Club for Growth, during the 2012 recall election. What’s clear from Randa’s rulings, and the fact that he’s attended multiple Koch-sponsored junkets, is that Randa, too, is a Koch ally, who appears to be pursuing a concerted effort to roll back Wisconsin campaign finance laws to the benefit of Scott Walker and his political allies.
Walker Exploited Campaign Finance Loophole Implemented By Koch Crony Judge
2014: Walker Exceeded Party/PAC Contribution Limits
Before Being Stuck Down, Party Contributions To Gubernatorial Campaigns Were Limited To $700,830, While The PAC Contribution Limit Was $485,190. According to The Associated Press, “the other three returned all or a portion of the money because they had already met their PAC donation limits. Campaign finance laws set those limits at $7,763 for Assembly candidates, $15,525 for state Senate candidates, $242,550 for the attorney general and $485,190 for the governor. The limits for political party committees are higher: $11,213 for state Assembly candidates, $22,435 for state Senate candidates, $350,350 for attorney general and $700,830 for governor. The limits have not changed since 1990.” [The Associated Press, 9/8/14]
- As Of October 20th2014, Walker’s Campaign Accepted $2,645,457.32 Political Parties And Political Action Committees. [Walker Campaign Finance Report, 10/20/14]
Randa Issued Ruling Striking Down Wisconsin Law limiting donation limits on Political Action Committees
Randa Stopped Enforcement Of Law Placing Limits On Fundraising From PACs In Case Alleging Law Violated Free Speech Rights. According to the Washington Times, “U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa on Friday issued the ruling in a lawsuit brought by the CRG Network, a political action committee that works to elect conservative candidates. The group argued that the limits were a violation of its free speech rights. Randa, in granting a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law, said the group was likely to succeed on that claim.” [Associated Press, 9/8/14]
Ruling Also Stopped Enforcement Of Laws Limiting Contributions From Political Party Committees. According to the Washington Times, “But Randa went further than the lawsuit was seeking, blocking enforcement of the law that limits contributions from political party and legislative campaign committees as well.” [Associated Press, 9/8/14]
Judge Had Ties To Koch Brothers And Walker Campaign
Judge Randa Attended Expenses Paid Junkets Funded By Koch Brothers
Judge Who Paused John Doe Probe Into Walker Campaign Finance Regularly Attended Expenses –Paid Judicial Conferences Funded By The Koch Brothers. According to The Center For Public Integrity, “The federal judge who ordered an end to an investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative groups during two recent recall elections regularly attended expenses-paid judicial conferences sponsored by conservative organizations including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — groups that have funded efforts against campaign finance reform.” [Center For Public Integrity, 5/27/14]
Husband Of Assistant To Judge Randa Was A Walker Campaign Attorney
Wife Of Walker Campaign Attorney Worked As Assistant For Judge Randa. According to The Wisconsin State Journal “An assistant to the federal judge who ordered a halt to the state’s secret investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups is married to a lawyer for Walker’s campaign — which could be grounds for a judge to step down from a case. Steven Biskupic, a former U.S. attorney who is representing a party in the secretive John Doe probe, wouldn’t say Thursday whether his wife Cary Biskupic’s employment with Judge Rudolph Randa posed a conflict of interest.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 5/9/14]
Published: Oct 28, 2014