Following new revelations that he personally asked wealthy donors to contribute to a conservative advocacy group, Governor Scott Walker is holding firm on his position that he’s done nothing wrong.
The documents leaked by The Guardian U.S. were from a secret John Doe investigation into allegations that Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with third party groups. They show the governor reached out to several individuals, who then wrote checks to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative non-profit group that did advocacy work during the state’s historic wave of recall elections.
No charges were ever filed as a result of the probe and the state Supreme Court ordered a halt to the investigation last year. Prosecutors have appealed the decision.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Walker would not directly address questions about whether his efforts to raise money for the group was appropriate, only pointing out that court decisions ended the John Doe. “We’ve said this exhaustively…pointed out that not just one but multiple courts have looked at this and ruled that the investigation was baseless.”
AUDIO: Gov. Walker comments on the Guardian report (:48)
The Guardian report also highlighted donations by the owner of NL industries, which made lead used in paint, to Club for Growth before and after Republicans passed laws that would have helped shield companies from liability in lawsuits over lead exposure. Walker said Thursday that such reforms had been on his agenda for several years because of the potential impact of lawsuits on the state’s economy. “I said when I was a county executive, when I was a candidate, when I was governor that I thought frivolous and out of control lawsuits were a barrier to job growth and opportunity in this state,” Walker said.
The governor also declined to comment on whether the person who leaked the documents, which remain sealed by the court, should face prosecution. “That will be up to legal officials,” Walker said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is calling for the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the violation of a court order that is keeping evidence in the John Doe case sealed. Attorney General Brad Schimel said Thursday his office is reviewing its options to address the leak.