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Judge who ended #Walker probe attended junkets financed by Kochs (VIDEO)


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A judge is supposed to be impartial. A judge, well, judges, and so he or she must be fair and dispassionate. A judge should not feel pressured or indebted to any party while rendering a decision. He or she should only rely on evidence presented.

So, when reports surfaced that the judge who halted the Walker "John Doe" criminal investigation attended all-expenses paid "judicial junkets," that raised a few eyebrows. Why?

Those little "junkets" were funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests. And by now, it's common knowledge that Walker and the Kochs are BFF. Well, Walker and the Kochs' wallets are BFF, because nothing defines friendship like corporate cash.

Did I mention that same judge has an assistant who is married to a Walker campaign lawyer?

Chris Hayes covered the corrupt judge story on "All In" last night. PR Watch wrote it up a few days ago:

On May 6, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between nonprofit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spent $9.1 million on electoral ads during Wisconsin's recall elections, and the recall campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and state senators. John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury investigations, and Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and its director, Eric O'Keefe, a longtime compatriot of the Koch brothers -- asked the federal court to stop the probe, alleging it violated their "free speech" rights.

Judge Randa sided with O'Keefe, and also ordered prosecutors to destroy all evidence gathered in the investigation, an extraordinary edict in a criminal case made even more astounding by the fact that it came in the context of a preliminary injunction. The Seventh Circuit has blocked this part of his ruling; an appeal of the remainder of his decision is pending.

An analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that Judge Randa attended privately-funded, all-expenses-paid judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, according to publicly-available financial disclosure forms. (The 2013 disclosure form has been requested but has not yet been publicly posted).

The George Mason University seminars are bankrolled by a long list of right-wing foundations, like Koch, Bradley, and the Searle Freedom Trust, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

Much more at the link.


WI judge who halted John Doe lawsuit has assistant married to Walker campaign lawyer


judgment WI judge

Recently, a WI judge put a stop to the Scott Walker-infused John Doe investigation:

The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as “frivolous” an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued the decision less than a day after the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed an earlier ruling ending the secret investigation.

Turns out that Steven Biskupic, a former U.S. attorney who is representing "a party in the secretive John Doe probe," is married to Cary Biskupic. Cary happens to work for WI Judge Rudolph Randa.

Conflict of interest much? Then again, questionable activities, hypocrisy, and legal problems are not atypical in Walker World.

Via 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. [...]

Walker’s campaign paid Biskupic’s law firm $86,000 last year, according to a recent campaign finance report. Walker’s campaign is also one of the targets in the John Doe probe, according to court filings.

According to the federal Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees, employees working for federal judges should not perform any official duties in any matter in which a spouse has an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.

Of course, with the way things often go in Walker World, this too may slither under the radar and be allowed to stand.

walker world


Obamacare supporters score a legal victory in Missouri as overall enrollment rises


jim crow obamacare

That sound you hear is the GOP wondering what they'll smear next as they see their "Obamacare" and Benghazi!!!!!! attack campaigns morphing into punchlines.

There are two articles in the Los Angeles Times that throw political pies in the faces of Republicans who insist on trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act... and the president himself. Take a look at how those on the right just lost a court battle in their efforts to impede health care enrollment in Missouri:

Supporters of President Obama’s health law scored a legal victory in Missouri on Thursday as a federal judge blocked the state from enforcing new rules limiting the ability of community organizations to help consumers sign up for coverage under the law.

Missouri is among many Republican-leaning states that have put restrictions on these groups, including a requirement that they get licenses before they can help with the enrollment process. Proponents of the restrictions maintain that they protect consumers.

There were eight plaintiffs on the winning side, including Effort for AIDS and Planned Parenthood. Once again, opponents of President Obama and Obamacare are willing to sacrifice other people's lives and health in order to score political points. Who's kidding whom? The GOP's attitude toward women and just about anyone who doesn't look or sound like an old white man is abominable, no matter how much they claim they're reaching out. "Uncle Sugar." 'Nuff said.

The judge agreed that, since the state insisted that the federal government operate its marketplace, then obstructing attempts to make the process run more smoothly wouldn't make much sense.

Then again, since when have Republicans ever made sense?

In other words, his ruling sent a message: Butt out, GOP, you asked for this, so kindly get lost and let these people do their jobs. Community organizers, go for it.

Meanwhile, the marketplaces are recovering in nicely:

Approximately 3 million people have now enrolled in health insurance plans sold through marketplaces created by President Obama’s health law, the administration announced Friday.

The milestone indicates nearly a million additional people have signed up since the end of December.

Psst! Republicans...nice try smaller


Score one for oil drilling opponents!


that's oil folks smaller

I rail all the time about Big Oil drilling into every pristine and not-so pristine corner of the world, fracking, and the usual gluttons' utter disdain for keeping our precious earth and its inhabitants safe, healthy, and beautiful.

Writing about it for years on end is exhausting and is taking a toll. That is one of the main reasons I have outrage overload (and have been ordered to cut back for health reasons). It's not easy to rant endlessly, yet feel as if you're having no impact.

Thankfully, there are people with big, effective voices who are being heard:

environment erin brockovich tweet CA, West VirginiaLink

But today is different. Today I am the bearer of good news, or rather, the Los Angeles Times is:

The U.S. government violated the law when it opened millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, possibly delaying plans by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to drill off the northwest coast of Alaska in the near future.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate the impact of oil development in the Chukchi Sea when it sold more than $2.6 billion in development leases in the environmentally sensitive area in 2008.

A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and Alaska Native organizations sued the federal government, arguing that the U.S. had offered an estimated 30 million acres of oil leases for sale without sufficient scientific information or analysis of potential effects on the region.