Poor Scott Walker. After last month's massive email dump revealed the depth of his staff's probable illegal on-the-job campaign activity and their awful attitudes, he's barely holding on against challenger Mary Burke.
But not to worry, Scottie! Your Senate cronies are on it for you. PRWatch:
SB 654, quietly introduced earlier this month by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who is reportedly under investigation in the John Doe probe, would reverse judicial precedent and declare that "issue ads" cannot be considered a candidate contribution. Those changes, if enacted, would conform Wisconsin statutes to Wisconsin Club for Growth's arguments in the John Doe case, and legalize the conduct under investigation in time for statewide elections later this year.
Just like that! If you don't comply with the law, change it, especially if it means you could coordinate with outside groups on (air quotes) issue ads.
If enacted, the legislation would not necessarily stop the John Doe probe. It would, however, legalize the conduct under investigation in the John Doe for state elections later this year -- including Scott Walker's hotly-contested reelection campaign.
This means that the Walker campaign could work hand-in-glove with an "issue ad" group like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which can accept secret, unlimited donations.
"The proposed policy change is a horrible one," the Campaign Legal Center's Ryan told CMD. "It would pose a serious threat of corruption in Wisconsin politics, and open the door wide to unlimited and undisclosed political expenditures."
As CMD has previously pointed out, allowing coordinated issue ads could undermine campaign finance and disclosure laws, since a multi-million-dollar donation to Wisconsin Club for Growth would have almost the same value as a donation directly to Walker -- with the same opportunity for corruption, and the same problems with the press and the public not knowing about the true source of the donations. Because a donation to a candidate-aligned issue ad group would not be publicly disclosed, the public would be unable to track whether the donation resulted in favorable treatment.
Time for more protests in the Capitol?