Did Gov. Walker Raise Money to Help Elect State Supreme Court Justice?
Organization Walker Admitted Soliciting Funds for Funneled Big Money into Prosser Race for State High Court
MADISON, Wis. — In comments reported by the news service WisPolitics.com, Gov. Scott Walker admitted he personally solicited contributions for the Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) in 2011 and 2012. During early 2011, WCFG spent an estimated $320,000 plus in advertising surrounding Justice David Prosser’s re-election race, and funded the entire budget of another group, Citizens for a Strong America (CSA), that spent over $800,000.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Gov. Walker’s latest comments, admitting he personally solicited funds for Club for Growth in 2011 and 2012, raise even more troubling questions about conflicts of interest on the state Supreme Court, especially in regard to Justice Prosser.”
Justice Prosser was re-elected to a ten-year term by a razor thin margin in 2011. Data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign showed that 75 percent of the $3.5 million in spending on behalf of Prosser came from WCFG, the WCFG-financed Citizens for a Strong America, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Wisconsin Right to Life. If the public financing grant obtained by Justice Prosser is removed as “spending,” this figure leaps to a jaw-dropping 85 percent.
In April of this year, Gov. Walker’s campaign asked the State Supreme Court to step in and bypass the Court of Appeals in deciding if an order by a lower court judge quashing subpoenas in the John Doe investigation of allegations of illegal coordination between Republican-aligned should stand.
At the time, One Wisconsin Now urged four of the court’s justices to recuse themselves from considering Walker’s campaign request. In a letter to the court, One Wisconsin Now noted that groups reported by media to be involved in the investigation — Club for Growth, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Citizens for a Strong America — financed over $8 million in spending around the races of the four justices constituting the conservative majority on the court.
“It seems as though Gov. Walker may have just admitted to personally soliciting funds that benefited Justice Prosser. If that is the case, Justice Prosser and Gov. Walker owe the public answers about what they were up to. And judicial ethics demands Prosser recuse himself from any participation in any cases related to the Doe investigation,” concluded Ross.