State prosecutors in Wisconsin have alleged that Gov. Scott Walker (R) was part of an effort to illegally coordinate conservative groups’ fundraising during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections in the state, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The revelation was contained in documents unsealed Thursday by a federal judge. In the documents, according to the Journal Sentinel, prosecutors described a “criminal scheme” to skirt state election laws by Walker and his campaign, as well as two of Walker’s deputies: R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl. Walker and his deputies allegedly helped raise money and control spending through 12 conservative groups during the recalls.
The Journal Sentinel highlighted one email exchange contained in the documents: a note from Walker to Republican political strategist and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove in which Walker described Johnson’s role coordinating the activity.
“Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities),” Walker wrote to Rove on May 4, 2011.
The documents were unsealed as part of a lawsuit brought by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth, which has been seeking to have the investigation shut down.
Before Thursday’s document release, it had been widely understood that a group of state prosecutors were conducting a secret “John Doe” investigation into allegedly illegal campaign coordination between Walker’s 2012 campaign and outside conservative groups. Wisconsin Club for Growth (where Johnson serves as an adviser) was one of the targets of the probe, and earlier this year it sued to stop the probe. Last month, a federal judge dramatically ordered the prosecutors to halt their activities.
Despite the court victory won by his allies, late last month reports indicated that Walker was negotiating with the special prosecutor overseeing the probe.