Check this out. One of Gov. Scott Walker's big time CEO donor types got caught funneling a ton of cash illegally to his campaign. Wisconsin voters must be getting very, very tired of all this garbage coming from Walker and his peeps.
A major donor to Gov. Scott Walker was charged Monday with funneling more than $60,000 in illegal campaign contributions through his railroad employees over five years.
William Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., has agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts - one for exceeding the campaign contribution limits and a second for giving company and personal funds to associates so they could make political donations, mainly to Walker but to others as well. Individuals can give no more than $10,000 to gubernatorial candidates.
As part of a separate settlement, the railroad paid a civil forfeiture of $166,900 - the largest ever imposed by state election officials. Seven employees will each pay $250 forfeitures as well.
Under Gardner's criminal plea deal, prosecutors ask that Gardner be sentenced to two years' probation.
"Because he was cooperative and accepted responsibility at the outset - providing much of the evidence against himself - we are not recommending jail time," said Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, who investigates election and campaign matters.
Although Milwaukee prosecutors handled the case, the charges were filed in Washington County, where Gardner lives. Each of the two felony counts carries a maximum penalty of 3 1/2 years of combined prison and extended supervision and a $10,000 fine.
Gardner issued a statement Monday acknowledging his mistakes.
In that written statement, the 63-year-old railroad executive said he didn't initially realize that what he and others were doing was improper. The criminal complaint says Gardner took several steps to conceal the scheme and that the illegal contributions came to light only when his ex-girlfriend alerted state officials...read on
By Hook or By Crook must be Walker's motto. There's a lot of sneaky stuff going down in Wisconsin these days ever since Scott Walker came to town.
Here's a take from The Daily Page:
The amount given by Gardner and his workers ended up totaling around $53,800, with almost $50,000 of that going to the Friends of Scott Walker. Gardner had been encouraging his employees to personally donate to the campaign, then reimbursed them via company funds – a big no-no in both state and federal law, as it violates the maximum contributions allowed by a business and the rights of employees not to be told who to support by an employer.
The Walker campaign returned most of that money in May of 2010, once the case was made public, but according to the GAB some $20,000 remains unaccounted for.
I attended the GAB press conference about the investigation and indictments yesterday – you can read my full write-up of it here.