Scott Walker’s campaign system remains under scrutiny in Wisconsin, as the state Supreme Court stalls oral arguments in a John Doe case scheduled for this month. The delay brings up further questions regarding the justices’ ability to hear the case.
The court canceled oral arguments weeks ago, in the case that centers on the Wisconsin governor’s campaign committee connections to special interests groups, which are supposed to be independent. Some are alleging the governor and his campaign managers, intentionally skirted campaign finance laws, to raise unlimited and undocumented funds from corporate entities. The case was brought by anonymous plaintiffs, which classifies it as a John Doe case.
The case stems from alleged fundraising activities occurring during Walker’s recalls. The recalls were initiated against Walker after he took a stand against unions, that curbed the power of public unions by successfully slashing collective bargaining rights, as a part of balancing the state budget. Walker became a state hero and won the recall election, effectively keeping his governor’s post and launching him as a potential candidate for the U.S. presidency in the 2016 election. Walker has not announced his candidacy for the Oval Office, but is expected to run, and remains high in the polls of potential candidates.
The outcome of the Supreme Court case could play a role in that decision, according to analysts. The case includes two documented facts. Walker’s campaign advisor, R.J. Johnson, served both the campaign and the independent group Wisconsin Club for Growth. The speculation is that he and others associated with the Walker campaign, used their dual positions to illegally raise money during the recalls. Walker stated he also raised money for the special interest group, but insists his actions were well within the law. The suspicious actions put Walker’s campaign system under prosecutors’ scrutiny.
Those filing the lawsuit state that the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court makes the state’s laws worthless. Claimants also state that Wisconsin’s campaign laws are ineffective in that they allow certain advertisements that focus on issues rather than candidates. That allows some to circumvent campaign finance laws, according to the lawsuit.
The court has other issues to discuss in the case. Claimants state the John Doe law was broken during the initial phases of the investigation, and prosecutors are to blame. Also, there is a question of the justices and whether the court can actually hear the case. Four of the state Supreme Court justices received more than $10 million in campaign money from special interest groups, including Wisconsin Club for Growth. The court has appointed a reserve judge and a special prosecutor, to look over five investigations relating to the campaign finance allegations. Friend of the court briefs were submitted in the cases.
Meanwhile, Walker is giving speeches about possibly limiting legal immigration in order to protect American workers from job competition. Walker was previously supportive of legal immigration in the belief that it benefited the free-enterprise system. The establishment faction of the Republican Party is worried that Walker’s swing to the extreme right on the issue could damage his popularity with mainstream voters.
Those supporting Walker are watching his next few public speeches, as well as how his campaign system, currently remaining under scrutiny, moves through the state Supreme Court. The length of time that may take is still in limbo and that could affect any presidential campaign.
By Melody Dareing