wisconsin capitol
Press Release
April 16, 2014

Legal Filings Show Walker Ousted GAB Chair After Board’s Unanimous Vote to Proceed with John Doe Investigation

Chair's 2013 November Removal Followed June 2013 Unanimous Vote to Investigate

MADISON, Wis. — Just released filings related to the ongoing John Doe investigation into allegations of illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and a host of conservative organizations show Gov. Walker withdrew his own 2011 appointment of then-Government Accountability Board Chair David Deininger following a unanimous vote by the board to proceed with an investigation of the allegations.

“This is exhibit A that Gov. Walker’s ouster of Chair Deininger was about one thing: The board’s willingness to investigate alleged illegal activity leading to Gov. Walker’s recall election win,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now. “There are no depths to which the Governor will not sink to derail the investigation of his operation.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Former judges on the state Government Accountability Board voted unanimously last year to authorize the investigation of fundraising and spending by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and his allies during the recent recall elections, according to a Tuesday court filing.” The paper reports the vote of the non-partisan board comprised of retired judges took place in June 2013.

But in early November 2013, Gov. Walker withdrew Deininger’s nomination to the board, giving no reason other than concerns that the Senate would not confirm him. It was unclear why the Republican-controlled Senate would refuse to confirm Deininger, a former Republican legislator who was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. At the time, Republican Majority Leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald claimed of the decision “No, there’s no connection,” to decisions under Deininger’s leadership during the recall elections.

“The veil is down and the truth is apparent,” said Ross. “The Government Accountability Board unanimously voted to authorize the investigation of Gov. Walker’s political activities and Gov. Walker used his power to remove its chair.”

Gov. Walker made news when, after pledging he was cooperating in the investigation, he had his campaign file a brief seeking to have a case in the investigation moved to the conservative majority-led Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

One Wisconsin Now filed a formal letter Monday with the seven justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, urging four of the court’s justices to recuse themselves from a legal request by the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker related to the ongoing John Doe investigation surrounding allegations of illegal coordination between Republican-aligned groups during the recall of Walker. Justice Bradley, who is considered to be one of the liberal justices on the court, previously recused herself from John Doe proceedings, as her son practices law with Dean Strang, one of the attorneys involved in the case.

In its letter, available here, One Wisconsin Now writes that two of the groups reported by media to be involved in the investigation, Club for Growth (CfG) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), financed over $8 million in spending to elect the four justices, who constitute a conservative majority on the court.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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