According to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, state prosecutors in Wisconsin have alleged that Republican Gov. Scott Walker — a likely 2016 presidential candidate — was intimately involved in a large-scale effort to illegally coordinate fundraising for Republican candidates.
The news comes via documents unsealed by a judge presiding over a lawsuit filed by the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth that alleges the prosecutors' probe was politically motivated and violated the First Amendment. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa affirmed their argument and demanded prosecutors cease their investigation.
Included in the documents released on Thursday is a 2011 email from Walker to GOP strategist Karl Rove. "Bottom-line: R.J. [Johnson, a top Walker aide] helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin," Walker wrote. "We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities)."
Based on the prosecutors' arguments, the initial presiding judge in the case, former Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara Kluka, authorized sweeping subpoenas for a number of individuals, including Eric O'Keefe, a director for Wisconsin Club for Growth.
O'Keefe was ordered to turn over scores of documents related to the recall election and other matters dating back to 2009, documents released Thursday show.
But Reserve Judge Gregory Peterson, who replaced Kluka on the case, quash the subpoenas in January and ordered the return of any property seized because he found that there was no probable cause shown that they committed any violations of the campaign finance laws.