Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 29, 2012

Existence of "Bombshell" Emails Revealed in "John Doe" Criminal Probe

Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice revealed the existence of potentially explosive emails uncovered as part of the John Doe criminal investigation of Governor Scott Walker's former staff during the time that he served as Milwaukee County Executive. The paper had previously reported that as part of the wide-ranging secret investigation, the Milwaukee District Attorney was looking into "bid rigging" allegations related to the county's efforts to find private or public office space for its Department on Aging. The paper is now revealing that this aspect of the investigation involves emails between Walker and a long-time campaign advisor that have been described as everything from "legally inconclusive" to "a bombshell." Because of the strict secrecy rules governing the case, the sources refused to release the documents to the newspaper. Anyone divulging information from the John Doe proceedings, which take place in closed court before a single judge, could face criminal charges.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 28, 2012

Walker's Record on Veterans Under Fire

On Memorial Day, Wisconsinites are honoring those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, Memorial Day is taking place in the context of a historic recall election that is just eight days away, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing criticism from veterans and others over his handling of veterans affairs. An editorial in the Capital Times, reminds us that two of Walker's associates from his days as Milwaukee County Executive have been charged with embezzling money from the "Operation Freedom" charity for families of fallen soldiers. Tim Russell, a former Walker top aide, and Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee, were charged earlier in the year with embezzling over $62,000 from the veterans fund. Russell used the money to take expensive cruises and vacations with his boyfriend, Brian Pierick, who was also charged with child enticement. All three men are awaiting trial. The charity had been run by a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Milwaukee County, with no complaints. But Walker took control of the "Operation Freedom" charity away from the VFW and handed it over to his aide Russell, a decision still deserving of an explanation says the Capital Times.

Koch's Americans for Prosperity Not Supporting Walker in WI Recall?

DC-based special interest group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is busing-in out-of-state Tea Partiers and spending millions on advertisements, rallies, and phone banks in the weeks before recall elections for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and four state senate seats. But the group founded and funded by New York-based oil billionaire David Koch insists its activities have nothing to do with the Wisconsin campaigns or elections.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 25, 2012

Firefighters Trash DNC for Lack of Aid in the Recall

For weeks Democrats in Wisconsin have been putting pressure on the national Democratic Party to do more for the upcoming June 5 recall election. The Republican Governors Association and the national Republican Party, headed by Wisconsinite Reince Priebus, are "all in" on the Walker campaign, bringing in a string of Republican governors to campaign on behalf of Walker and spending millions on fundraising and TV ads. In response to the pressure, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, sent an email to Democrats around the country on May 23 asking for help for Walker's challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. But with less than two weeks before the election, Democrats and labor leaders are steamed. Today, the fight broke into the open when International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, told The Hill: "I'm very disappointed that the DNC has not seen fit to make a dollar investment," Schaitberger said. "When you're facing $25 million or more in super-PAC funds, you need money. The campaign needed funds to get up on the air to fight back. ... I think that would have been a good investment going into November."

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 24, 2012

RGA Roadshow Brings Four Governors to Wisconsin, Barrett Lacking in Surrogates

Governor Scott Walker will be joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at two campaign events in Wisconsin today to aid Walker as he faces Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a June 5 recall election. Jindal was last in the news here for poaching the Thomas Products manufacturing plant out of Sheboygan in 2009, costing the state 366 union jobs. Walker will also be joined by South Carolina's Republican Governor Nikki Haley on the campaign trail next week. Last night on Fox News, Haley refered to herself repeatedly as a "union buster." Earlier this week, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty joined Walker in La Crosse. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first Republican Governor to step up to the plate to assist Walker with the recall. The RGA has spent at least $4.8 million in the state, mostly on TV ads.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 23, 2012

Not Dead Yet: New Poll Shows Barrett and Walker in Dead Heat

A new poll sponsored by "We Are Wisconsin" shows a closer race between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Governor Scott Walker than other recent polls. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research did a survey on behalf of the labor PAC that sampled 472 recall voters from May 19 to 21. In that poll, Walker leads Barrett 50 to 47, but the results remain within the poll's four-point margin of error. Last week's Marquette University Law School poll showed Scott Walker ahead of Tom Barrett, 50 to 44 percent. Recent analysis of the Marquette poll, however, has shown that it "oversampled" conservatives, who were more likely to vote for Walker. John Nichols in the Capital Times describes how this oversampling explains Walker's gain in its entirety:

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 21, 2012

Walker Releases New Jobs Numbers and Cuts New Ad

On May 16, 2012, Governor Scott Walker released new jobs numbers; ones that indicate Wisconsin gained jobs in the last year rather than suffering the worst jobs loses in the nation as had been previously reported. The new numbers are based on a different metric, not the metric used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The governor's office has traditionally relied on BLS to measure job performance, but went data shopping when the BLS numbers started ranking Wisconsin's job performance the worst in the nation. The Walker administration released the new numbers the day before the BLS was anticipated to release its April numbers, and indeed the BLS report once again put Wisconsin dead last in the nation a loss of 21,400 between April of 2011 and April of 2012. Wisconsin lost 6,000 jobs in April alone.

Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 16, 2012

Sentencing for Key Former Walker Aide In John Doe Criminal Probe Delayed Until July

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that sentencing of Darlene Wink, a former county aide to Governor Scott Walker, has been delayed until July 17 so Wink can continue to help prosecutors. Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf asked for a long delay, noting, "the prosecutions are not yet closed." Wink was caught Facebooking comments, while at work, about Walker and his opponents during his 2010 race for governor. She was one of two Walker staffers later charged with spending a great deal of time fundraising and working on the gubernatorial campaign while on the public payroll as part of a wide ranging John Doe investigation being run out of the Milwaukee District Attorney's office. The probe has resulted in 15 felony indictments against a number of former Walker staff and associates, prompting Walker to hire two sets of criminal defense attorneys and to set up a criminal defense fund. Learn more about the John Doe investigation, and charges against Walker's former staff here.


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