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June 19, 2014 4:36 PM Unsealing Walker’s Problem

By Ed Kilgore

It was very good news for Scott Walker last month when a federal judge halted a “John Doe” investigation into allegations that Walker and his staff illegally coordinated fundraising activities with “independent” conservative groups during his successful effort to fend off a recall. But an appeals court intervened and kept the judge from destroying the documents in the case, and has now unsealed them as part of a determination as to whether to shut down the investigation for good.

Suffice it to say the documents look pretty bad for Walker, per a report from USAToday’s Fredreka Schouten.

The prosecutors’ filings include an email in which Walker tells Republican strategist Karl Rove that a top campaign aide, R.J. Johnson, was leading the coordination effort.
“Bottom line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin,” Walker wrote in the May 4, 2011 email. “We are running nine recall elections and it will be like running nine congressional markets in every market in the state.”
Johnson also was a top adviser to Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of organizations helping to fight the recall. Prosecutors say Johnson used the Club has a hub for coordinating political activities of Walker’s campaign and other groups, including the Republican Governors Association and Americans for Prosperity, a national group tied to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

Maybe not that many voters will care whether Walker and his cronies broke campaign finance laws, or at least flouted their spirit. But it’s the sort of thing that could affect what may be a very close re-election race for the governor this November, not to mention creating a cloud that will hang over any presidential race.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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