wisconsin capitol
Press Release
November 23, 2015

Walker Secretly Signed John Doe ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Bill in Chicago

‘Perfectly Encapsulates How He Time and Again Put Personal Political Ambition Before Everything Else’

Madison – Scott Walker’s gubernatorial calendars for the months of August and September show he largely ignored his duties as governor as he mounted a historically inept presidential campaign. However one bit of state business was important enough for Walker to take a break from his campaign – signing into law a bill that gave himself a special exemption from investigations of political corruption under the state “John Doe” law.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Gov. Walker’s actions perfectly encapsulate how he time and again put personal political ambition before everything else. While campaigning for president he largely ignored his job as governor, unless it was to personally benefit himself like protecting himself from political corruption investigations. No wonder Gov. Walker’s job approval ratings are among the lowest in the nation.”

Between stops in Chicago on October 23, Walker signed into law Senate Bill 43. The measure gives a special exemption to politicians only prohibiting prosecutors from using a “John Doe” proceeding to probe allegations of political corruption. According to a review of his calendars, most days Walker was only scheduled to participate in a brief morning phone call with his state office.

Prior use of the John Doe law resulted in convictions of six close aides and associates of Gov. Walker on crimes ranging from embezzlement, laundering campaign contributions and campaigning while on public time. A second Doe investigation revealed how Gov. Walker’s campaign worked closely to coordinate with outside groups and blurred the line between politics and public policy in what prosecutors described as a “criminal scheme.” For example, the probe found how a secret $700,000 contribution from a mining company was funnelled to a group working with Walker’s campaign while Walker was working to pass law changes to help the mining company open a huge pit mine near the shores of Lake Superior.

Ross noted the irony of Walker’s signing of the law protecting himself from investigations while travelling in Illinois, a state noted for the lax ethics practiced by Governors concluding, “That Scott Walker signed the bill giving himself immunity from John Doe criminal investigation while driving around the state that’s had four of its last eight governors go to prison might be the greatest missed photo op in the history of Wisconsin politics.”

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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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