Archive for investigation

Guess who spent over $1 million in legal fees since '12? Hint: Scott Walker's campaign.

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It seems like a day doesn't go by that there isn't some news involving Wisconsin's slimy Governor Scott Walker and the infamous John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. Just the other day, we here at TPC posted this: Subpoenas issued in WI John Doe probe, so GOP tried to change law. (And right after that, in an unrelated matter, we learned that the WI GOP may allow cameras next: Poll watchers already allowed 3 feet from voters.) Welcome to Walker World. The latest installment concerns the legal fees Walker's campaign has been racking up. No surprise there.

Per the Wisconsin State Journal's piece regarding a campaign finance report, we find out that since 2012, Team Walker has spent more than a million smackeroos on said legal fees. Wowzers, they must be rich! Oh, but I kid the Big GOP Spenders:

The report, which covers the first six months of this year, doesn’t specify what the money was spent on. But Walker’s campaign has been entangled in a John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination among conservative groups and Republican political campaigns during the 2012 recall election. [...]

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff called the amount of money the campaign has spent on legal fees “completely stunning.”

“The bipartisan (John Doe) investigation isn’t over yet, and we have every reason to believe Walker will spend tens of thousands more, but the staggering amount already spent should be a huge concern for every Wisconsinite who cares about good government,” Baldauff said.

More at the link. Stay tuned, or as Rachel Maddow likes to say, "Watch this space."

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Subpoenas issued in WI John Doe probe, so GOP tried to change law

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As I mentioned in my previous post, Another CA city sues over voting rights law, if you can't win on the merits of your arguments, on your policies (or lack thereof), your talent, or on your powers of persuasion, then hey, cheat. Dirty tricks abound in politics, and Wisconsin's John Doe criminal investigation is no exception. In this case, some subpoenas were sent out in the case involving alleged GOP campaign finance shenanigans, so what's a Republican to do? Why, quietly change the law to suit their needs. No sense in succumbing to potential criminal status when you can use a Mr. Dirty Tricks Clean Magic Eraser to whisk away the dirt!

mr. clean magic eraser

As you may recall, there is an ongoing John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. Poor Scotty. So many issues, so little time. He's accused of being part of "criminal scheme," which can't be boosting his image or helping his potential 2016 presidential run at all. His troubles just keep on a-mounting. And Walker and his GOP buddies are amounting... to a big stack of fail.

PRWatch.org has the goods:

New documents indicate that just weeks after the first subpoenas were issued in Wisconsin's "John Doe" criminal campaign finance probe in October 2013, senate Republicans had begun working to change state law to legalize the activities under investigation.

Legislative Republicans surprised many in the state in March of 2014 when they tried to rush Senate Bill 654 through the legislature to explicitly carve-out an exception to the state's campaign finance statutes for so-called "issue ads," those thinly-veiled election messages that stop short of telling viewers to vote for or against a candidate.

cya smaller

The Wisconsin State Journal called it "dodging public scrutiny." I call it CYA.

On October 3, 2013, prosecutors secretly served Wisconsin Club for Growth director Eric O'Keefe with a subpoena in the John Doe investigation, and executed search warrants on the homes of Walker's top campaign advisor R.J. Johnson (who also was the Club's chief strategist) and his associate Deborah Jordahl.

Two weeks after the secret subpoenas were issued, drafting records show that an aide to [Sen. Mary Lazich (R)], Zach Bemis, contacted the Legislative Reference Bureau and requested a bill that would rewrite state law, reverse court of appeals precedent, and exempt "issue ads" from Wisconsin campaign finance statutes. [...]

By changing the law to put issue ads beyond the reach of Wisconsin's campaign finance statutes, Lazich's bill would have had the effect of legalizing the issue ad coordination under investigation. Lazich was the subject of a recall attempt in 2011.

You can find more details here, definitely worth a read.

Welcome to Walker World.

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Scott #Walker part of "criminal scheme;" prosecutor closing in on Chris #Christie

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Mr. Toast  criminal investigations

When it rains it pours in GOP ScandalLand! Today's episode includes some ominous news for both criminal (allegedly) Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and everyone's favorite entertainer, criminal (allegedly) Gov. Chris "Who moi?" Christie of New Jersey.

Where to begin? All my salivating is distracting me, but not enough to prevent bringing you the latest.

Let's start with Scott "Who Needs a Recall When We Have a Legal Case?" Walker. Politico has the scoop:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participated in a “criminal scheme” to coordinate fundraising for Republicans trying to beat back efforts to recall him and state senators from office, local prosecutors argue in court documents released Thursday.

Walker, his chief of staff and others were involved in the coordination effort with “a number of national groups and prominent figures,” including Karl Rove, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz alleged.

“[T]he evidence shows an extensive coordination scheme that pervaded nearly every aspect of the campaign activities during the historic 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections,” Schmitz wrote in a December motion, on behalf of five attorneys from some of the state’s most liberal counties, just now unsealed by an appellate court judge.

Ruh roh!

Scotty's in a neck-and-neck race for re-election, so this may very well complicate matters for him. And don't even get me started about his shrinking chances for a 2016 presidential run. Dems are ecstatic.

Moving on to Bridgegate and poor, put-upon Gov. "Heartbroken." This reporting comes via Esquire, where the sub-headline is "Indictments against four cronies are near certain, sources say. Only question is if David Samson, Christie's longtime crony, will flip."

naked nude man covers crotch ouch

Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case. [...]

Fishman’s challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts -- the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA’s Board of Commissioners as Christie’s appointee. [...]

The question that truly matters is whether Fishman’s pursuit leads to the governor himself. Christie’s Port appointees -- not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein -- all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna... Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing.

On source said that Samson "is toast." "They’ve got him cold... He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal."

GIF happy DancingSnoopy

Both articles are must-reads, and they're relatively short, so have at it.

What was that again about 2016? Methinks we may have a twofer here. With any luck, we can show both lying, arrogant, slimeball Republican governors the door.

buh bye by Kelly Kincaid

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TX GOP Rep. Steve Stockman investigated over campaign donations, cover-up

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If a congressional staff member donates to their boss, it's a no-no. If two congressional staff members donated to their boss, Republican Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, then wouldn't that be a no-no-no-no?

magic 8 ball yes

Via The New York Times:

The House Ethics Committee is investigating accusations that a Republican lawmaker from Texas — who lost a recent bid for a United States Senate seat — took illegal contributions from two of his staff members and may have made false statements in an effort to cover it up. [...]

The staff members — Jason Posey, the director of special projects, and Thomas Dodd, a special assistant — admitted to contributing $7,500 each to Mr. Stockman’s campaign in February 2013, although they were first reported as having been made by Mr. Dodd’s mother and Mr. Posey’s father.

Stockman fired the two staff  members and returned the contributions. Stockman's lawyer said there was not so much as "a breath of unethical action by Congressman Stockman." Pshyeah. What's he going to say, "Hey! My client's guilty as sin! You must punish him now!"?

Follow the link for more, including how, since he's not running for re-election, it's doubtful that the investigation will go very far. That's because the Ethics Committee "will lose its jurisdiction in the case once he leaves office."

Business as usual.

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

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citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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.

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

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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

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Ex-Christie aide: Gov's self-exoneration chock full o' holes (ENTIRE VIDEO)

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Bridgegate Christina Renna ex-Christie aide testifies

Video h/t: BlueJersey.com

ADDED: Here is the entire testimony via NJTV News:

UPDATE:

Original post:

Talking Points Memo is reporting on the testimony of an ex-Christie aide, Christina Renna, given to the New Jersey legislative committee investigating Bridgegate. She worked in the governor's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) under both Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly. Among her sworn statements were a few choice words about the slut-shaming gossip sheet whitewash in which Legal Team Christie cleared their client.

Here are a few of those words out of the very mouth of the very ex-Christie aide:

"'Mandatory directive' were not my words," Renna said. "If you notice, they are not in quotation marks. That was Gibson Dunn's words. That was their characterization. They are never words I would have used. I would never use 'mandatory directive,' except in one incident which we can circle back to. They were not my words." Weinberg asked Renna whether she had a chance to correct Gibson Dunn's characterization of her interview before it was released publicly. Renna replied that she had not been given the opportunity.

Christie's legal team had summarized it this way:

Renna believed Stepien kept track of mayors who were not in favor with IGA, but Renna was not privy to that process. But IGA staff would receive mandatory directives along the lines of “do not rush to return this mayor’s phone call.” Renna recalled an IGA staffer asking Renna, “Can we get a list of hands-off mayors?” Renna remembered responding, “You know we won’t get it, and it would change daily anyway.”

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led the internal "investigation" of Bridgegate, did say that his exoneration paper was his understanding, his recap, of the interviews he held. But if even an ex-Christie aide is poking holes in Mastro's findings, then it's further confirmation that the "report" was nothing more than a paper sieve. full of holesMore details at the link.

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