MADISON, Wis. — Eighty-two days and $160,000 later, Gov. Walker and his campaign are continuing to refuse to name the donors to the legal defense fund he is using to pay for defense lawyers in a “John Doe” criminal investigation of corruption and illegal campaigning.
One Wisconsin Now spokesperson Mike Browne commented, “It’s understandable that Gov. Walker’s criminal defense lawyers may have advised him to refuse to comment on his involvement in the growing political scandal surrounding his administration.”
He continued, “But there is no reason, other than Gov. Walker’s penchant for secrecy, that prevents him from coming clean with the people of Wisconsin about who’s footing the bill for this criminal defense team.”
It was first reported in February that Gov. Walker had retained criminal defense lawyers from Milwaukee and Chicago in connection with the “John Doe” criminal investigation of corruption and illegal campaigning by close aides and associates. A review of state ethics filings in April revealed that, in fact, Gov. Walker had racked up over $50,000 in legal bills from these defense lawyers in 2011.
In March, it was reported that Gov. Walker had created a legal defense fund to pay for his lawyers. Under state law, an elected official is only allowed to form such a fund if they, or their agent, are under investigation for, charged with, or convicted of violations of Wisconsin’s campaign finance and election laws.
The latest campaign finance filings show a total of $160,000 has been transferred to his defense fund since its creation, but Gov. Walker and his campaign spokesperson have refused to reveal the names of the donors.
Browne concluded, “Gov. Walker claims he is cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation of corruption and illegal campaigning by his close aides and associates. But why won’t he cooperate with the people of Wisconsin and stop stonewalling on who’s bankrolling his team of criminal defense lawyers?”