The Inside Story of the Crony Court that Deep-Sixed the Scott Walker Probe

The Disappearance of John Doe

Shadowy FigureFrom our friends at Center for Media and Democracy ---

By Mary Bottari and Brendan Fischer

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been under investigation since his first day in office. But before a national audience even becomes aware of the fact, it will all be over. This week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is likely to quash an investigation--run by a veteran Republican prosecutor--into allegations that Walker's team broke campaign finance laws during the 2012 recall elections by working in concert with dark money groups.

The prosecutor has asked two justices with ties to these same groups to recuse themselves from the case, but they have refused. And the court will rule behind closed doors, having eschewed oral arguments or even a full accounting of the case.

Press release: Walker Campaign Finance Report Riddled with Errors

From the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today -- Scott Walker's' "amended' finance report is as inaccurate as the original - but different

July 14, 2015

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign filed a campaign finance report last month riddled with erroneous information about hundreds of contributions he received in the homestretch of his 2014 reelection contest, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found. (Click here to download a copy of the report as a zip file.)

The Democracy Campaign filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board (GAB) that cited erroneous employer and occupational information involving contributions by a sampling of 25 contributors listed in Walker’s newly amended 2014 preelection report, which covers fundraising and spending by the governor’s campaign between July 29, 2014, and Oct. 20, 2014. 

Employer and occupational information is a critical element of campaign finance disclosure because it allows citizens to see the special interests behind the contributions seeking to influence their elected officials. State campaign finance laws require a candidate to identify the occupation and employer’s name for contributors who give a candidate more than $100 in a calendar year.

Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight

Kathleen Vinehout
Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.
The governor removed at least 15 portions of state law passed by the legislature that provided legislative authority or provided oversight of the executive branch.
Remember your 4th grade civics class lessons about the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government – the governor (and executive agencies,), the legislature, and the judiciary. The power of the people lies in the power of their elected officials. The peoples’ representatives are their most direct line of power. When legislative power is undermined, so is the power of the people.
The governor began the budget process by taking away powers given to the people and the legislature. For example, the citizen board members of the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture lost all their policy-making powers in the governor’s budget. The legislature lost its oversight of state building projects in the governor’s changes to the Building Commission. The people lost budget restrictions in the governor’s gutting of the cost-benefit analysis requirements. These powers were all restored in action by the legislature.
However, through his vetoes, the governor again limited the power of the people through their legislature. For example, the legislature held onto funds the governor put in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) budget. The very troubled jobs agency was to submit policy changes to the legislature. Presumably, those funds could be released funds if the budget writing committee members were satisfied progress was made. The governor took the funds set aside by the budget committee through his veto pen.
The budget writing committee made changes in the requirements for agencies writing budgets – requiring more information be sent to the legislature on budget options. Lawmakers also set executive restrictions on short-term debt. The use of this type of debt (known as ‘commercial paper’) has long been unrestricted by lawmakers and invisible to the public.
The governor vetoed both of these common sense budget oversight provisions.

Announcement by twitter?????

Scott Walker is in Twitter

So -- it's not at all clear how this happened, but Scott Walker apparently accidentally announced his candidacy a few days early on Twitter.  According to Politico his team ain't answering questions about it. Just so you know, I'm not voting for him or joining his team.  Maybe they just cannot break the habit of announcing everything late on Friday so's you won't notice.

Dumpster fire budget passes somewhat intact - 11 Republicans just say "no"

Its been fun, I think

SO that happened. The budget got passed. Although in some ways it's a little less egregious than what the governor initally proposed, it's still a "crap budget" as described by at least one Republican legislator. If you want to see a quck rundown of what is going to affect your life in the budget, there's a story at the Star Tribune (and why I keep ending up reading the Minnesota papers to get Wisconsin news is another question). 

Let's just say that a lot of bad policy got passed. And I mean bad policy more than bad budget items. This budget holds what is perhaps a record-breaking amount of state policy.  What ever happened to laws?  You remember laws, don't you?  Those things that the legislators are supposed to pass?  It's become so much easier in the world where Republicans control everything to just put all the goodies into the budget and then kick back to enjoy the next year and a half till the next legislative budget-making session occurs. 

Highlights of last night's Senate budget action

From Jake's Economic TA Funhouse:

Here's a roundup of a few items thrown in to the budget in yesterday’s Senate action. We had been told that the disgraceful gutting of open records law was going to be replaced, but a couple of other awful provisions in the now-notorious 999 proposal that went through the Joint Finance Committee last week also got the ax.

Gordon Hintz: Republicans Debate An Imaginary Budget That Is Good for Wisconsin

For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2015                                                                                                                                              

Contact: Rep. Gordon Hintz                                                                                                                                                  


Republicans Debate An Imaginary Budget That Is Good for Wisconsin

 Madison –In a surprise move, during today’s debate on the 2015-17 State Budget Assembly Republicans chose to make no mention of their original budget proposal recently passed by the Joint Finance Committee.  Instead, Republicans repeatedly attempted to debate what appears to be an imaginary budget, stating ‘this budget is right for everyone in Wisconsin’ and ‘is good for Wisconsin and its families, schools, and property taxpayers’.

In case you missed it - State Capitol evacuated - All Clear now

Update -- the evacuation of the Capitol just ended as the all-clear has been given and legislators are heading back to the building.

The state capitol was evacuated this afternoon due to a "credible bomb threat".  Many legislators were seen crossing the various streets around the capitol to partake of bipartisan drinking in the meantime.  Latest word on social media seems to be that dogs may be brought in to sniff the building, that the square has been more or less closed for the time being, and that it's likely that the budget debate in the Assembly will have to be moved forward to tomorrow.

This afternoon's Concert on the Square is currently "on hold" due to the threat.


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