Quid Pro Quo…

I’m certainly not surprised by the recent revelations about Scott Walker’s unethical fundraising. I’m just depressed by yet another confirmation of the sorry state of American politics and the increasing corruption of the political system. I don’t enjoy being suspicious and cynical, but it’s getting a lot harder to maintain my Pollyanna side.

For those who missed the recent reporting, here’s one lede from the Wisconsin State Journal:

A new batch of leaked documents provides the most complete record yet of how Gov. Scott Walker raised millions of dollars for a supposedly independent, tax-exempt group during the 2011 and 2012 recalls — activity that prompted a now-halted John Doe investigation into whether Walker’s recall campaign circumvented state campaign finance law.

The newly revealed donations to the Wisconsin Club for Growth included six-figure sums from a lead producer who later stood to benefit from changes slipped into the 2013-15 state budget.

In another article, expanding on the details of the “lead producer,” we read

One of the more tangible revelations found in the leaked documents is how money buys bad policy-making decisions. An example is how Harold Simmons, a man who owned a company that produced lead that used to be in paint, made $750,000 worth of donations to Walker in 2011 and 2012 and got Republicans to protect him from lawsuits.

The Guardian US posted more than 1,300 pages of documents online, detailing more of Walker’s corrupt behavior. It’s unclear how the newspaper got the documents, which were being held under seal.

These disclosures come just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a petition by prosecutors to overturn a Wisconsin Supreme Court 4-2 decision that quashed the investigation into Walker’s practices. The prosecutors bringing the petition argue, among other things, that conservative justices Michael Gableman and David Prosser should have recused themselves from the case.

Walker, in a May 2011 letter to Republican strategist Karl Rove, wrote that his chief political adviser R.J. Johnson ran the efforts to elect Gableman in 2008 and re-elect Prosser in 2011. Johnson was under investigation for his role in coordinating advertising for both the Walker recall campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)4 group.

“Club for Growth—Wisconsin was the key to retaining Justice Prosser,” Walker wrote to Rove.

Johnson affirmed the group’s role in a December 2010 email to Club for Growth director Eric O’Keefe, saying “Club is leading the coalition to maintain the court.”

In this case, “maintaining the court” evidently meant retaining judges who’d been bought and paid for. Engaging in such partisan activities is illegal for a tax-exempt 501(c)4 like the Club for Growth.

It’s bad enough when elected officials like Walker ignore the laws with impunity, but when quid pro quo politics infect the judicial process, it’s worse. The ability of citizens to rely upon the impartiality of jurists is a bulwark against inequality, corruption and tyranny.(And speaking of politics infecting the judiciary, when will the Senate discharge its constitutional duty to vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland??)

It’s all pretty sleazy.

Buying laws, neutering the courts….and we wonder why young people don’t trust “the system.”


  1. This blog report regarding state level total lack of ethics takes me back to the Goldsmith administration at the city level here. Was he the forerunner in the GOP to put unethical campaigning, election and administration into blatant practice or has it been covered up till recently? With prosecutors aiding and abetting Walker in his endeavors to slip past investigation and recall; Wisconsin residents didn’t have a chance to remove him and his openly criminal actions to remain in office and pass bills rendering voters virtually helpless.

    I watched Goldsmith’s giveaways of city responsibilities along with our tax dollars and one City-County Councillor of more than 30 years was too afraid of his powers to investigate his unethical practice of hiding Mayor’s Office employees in other city departments and on their payrolls. This practice was later made public by two brave journalists who then found employment elsewhere. It took Goldsmith physically abusing his wife two years ago, reported on the national level, to uncover his lack of ethics as Deputy Mayor of New York City and, as one local long-time TV newscaster state, “Maybe this will finally be the end of his political career.” Maybe it has ended his chances of election or appointment but his unethical practices are being used around this country and he is currently instilling them into young minds at Harvard. His legacy continues; Walker is an excellent example.

    Maybe uncovering this information about Walker, making it public beyond Wisconsin borders, will end his “quid pro quo” political policies and bring others to light. “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.” Of course, there have been other first steps made public but ignored; the level to which Walker has pushed his practices has been in the media since his election but not uncovered the depth of his dark side till now. The media refuses to add together all of these reports from around this country and totaling the mass destruction of city-level and state-level politics; the public must begin doing the math and subtracting these politicians from their lofty positions at the polls. Remember this on November 8th when we have the opportunity to oust, not only Trump, locally we can oust Pence from the national level and his clone from our governor’s seat.

  2. Clinton Cash is a book that should be read before voting this fall, Jill Stein seems to be more ethical a candidate. The only thing she’s done wrong legally is spray paint a bulldozer.

  3. I would have to admit that I am not surprised at the criminal activity by Walker and his judicial pals in Wisconsin. Having read “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer several months ago, it is clear that the corruption of the political system in several states, in Indiana certainly, has been going on for decades, coming to fruition with the Citizens United decision. When you have a State Supreme Court filled with political appointees who rubber stamp initiatives and uphold or refuse to hear based on their ideology, it is a logical next step to control of the judicial process by the same dark money that put the appointer in office in the first place.
    A recent article on local NPR reported and had a sound clip of an “expert” suggesting to a legislative study committee that university presidents be considered for positions on a non-partisan committee to redraw districts. When university presidents are former governors who appointed the trustees who selected them for the job, it does become a corruption of the process before it even begins.
    Indiana is certainly not unique in this kind of insidious rot overtaking any hope of good public policy over party/money loyalty. Alabama, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, to name a few, have had similar issues for years. Until we, as voters, decide to flush the filth, it will never end. Even worse, we will wind up with a narcissistic, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, fascist making appointments to the Supreme Court, based not on expertise or knowledge of the rule of law, but on the whim of the moment. Reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. Off with our heads!

  4. As to the question of Merrick Garland, there are two possible answers. If Trump wins, it’s never. If Hillary wins, he’ll be on the court by the beginning of December.

  5. JD, really like your comments lately. Everyone has been spot on with theirs actually. JoAnn, nice kitchen. 😉

  6. AgingLGrl; I couldn’t agree with you more about JD’s comments today. We seem to have allowed this situation to come to be by not paying attention till the last minute; then have no idea how we got here.

    Thanks for my kitchen complement; I am thrilled, sorry I didn’t have before-and-after pics…or maybe not!

  7. Joann,

    “We seem to have allowed this situation to come to be by not paying attention till the last minute; then have no idea how we got here.”

    We got here step by step. Paying attention at the surface level was not enough, the democracy has been undermined at the sub-surface level.

  8. Our political system has been corrupted for a very long time, Eugene Debs pointed this out a century ago. The magnitude, scale and pure arrogance of the corruption at least in my Boomer lifetime seems unprecedented. Every level and across the country has this epidemic of corruption and Crony-Capitalism.

    We have the EpiPen scandal of Crony-Capitalism and the Wells Fargo Scandal of fraud.

    We had a candidate for President that said the Business Model of Wall Street was fraud. Bernie Sanders said, “Wall Street is an entity of unbelievable economic and political power. That’s fact. I want to say something and it may sound harsh, not to you, but to the American people. In my view, the business model of Wall Street is fraud. It’s fraud. I believe that corruption is rampant”. <<

    Sanders assessment was harsh. What he left unsaid but was there by implication was the fraud and corruption can only exist if it protected by powerful political forces and their paymasters.

  9. All of this fits perfectly with a public that doesn’t really care about what freedoms are specified in the First Amendment or who can’t name the three branches of government. If a scandal has more than two elements of data or human rights are at stake, it’s too much to handle, but they will remember every detail of Brad and Angelina. Like the C & W song that defines freedom as drinking beer and sitting on the lawn, people don’t understand the cost of ignorance and giving a pass to people who justify immoral behavior with “the ends justify the means”. “Move on. Nothing to see here.” You know that when many people read about these events, they will go on to Brad and Angelina and not consider the meaning of what they have done just by turning the page. When the ancient Romans decided that they could do whatever they wanted as long as they gave the people bread and circuses, they figured it out. Like Franklin said, “This is a republic if we can keep it”, but maybe we can’t.

  10. Louie,

    “Our political system has been corrupted for a very long time, Eugene Debs pointed this out a century ago.”

    What we’re witnessing is unrestrained capitalism morphing into fascism. That’s why many in the African-American community are now taking things into their own hands [they don’t react like Jews] which will only make matters worse. But they feel they have no other choice and are probably right.

  11. Pete,

    “Why are so many enjoying the benefits of freedom unable to see that they come from democracy and are missing in oligarchy?”

    Because America is a multi-cultural country, democracy requires a deep belief in diversity, not white supremacy. What we called democracy in the 40’s and 50’s worked out much better as long as we had Jim Crow laws. Give him credit. Donald Trump understands that part of our history and is taking us away from democracy, but not back into the good ole days……. unfortunately for us all into RACIAL WARFARE.

    Wow! What a leader. Let’s all follow him…….. into our graves.

  12. I still have a hard time holding Trump accountable for continuing to be what he always has been; a shallow celebrity.

    It’s voters who obviously don’t know the job of President that bother me.

    How did we drop so far so fast in common cognitive literacy?

  13. “….and we wonder why young people don’t trust “the system.” — last sentence in Sheila’s topic for the day.

    And, now let’s move along to Indiana’s Democrats who have no response whatsoever to the resegregation in our Hoosier public schools. Let’s take a look at how Indiana treats its young people and how the Indiana candidate for Governor John Gregg plans to respond to the growing resegregation of our public schools. Gregg and Ritz are clueless, absolutely clueless.


  14. And Walker’s dad is a preacher! Oh well, so is Cruz’s. We are seeing the inevitable effects of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United, McCutcheon and other such atrocities, not that money under the table is anything all that new. During the Gilded Age, they placed sacks of money on the desks of legislators. Today (see Dark Money by Jane Mayer) they form organizations whose donors can give them money and deduct such donations as charitable contributions, which means that you and I have to pick up the slack for their reduction in taxes. In other words, I, a liberal Democrat, am helping fund tea party candidates, a situation I resent. GRRR!

  15. Gerald E. Stinson, while you are growling/making those big bad ‘GRRR’ sounds about Indiana politics, let’s focus your ‘grrrr’ sounds to the Indiana Democrat candidate for Governor, John Gregg. How’s that working out for you, Gerald?

  16. BSH – I vote in Florida but have many family members who live in Indiana. If I lived in Indiana I would vote for Gregg since his opponent is a ward heeling professional Republican politician who replaced someone worse. I am told that Gregg is not a liberal but, considering the alternative, he would have my vote if I lived there on the premise that half a loaf is better than none.

  17. The elephant in the room is ignored by the Bigot and her Tribe.

    John is correct.

    Walker case should be pursued.

    So should the Clinton case. Why is walker worth pursuing and not Clinton. Because her ‘private’ emails were erased?

    You tribe members kill me. Scott Walker is now so relevant, yet your nominee for President is not even mentioned.

    Tells me something about the tribe, and the bigot.

  18. I really get a kick out of this investigate HRC but ignore Trump meme.

    How many millions did Republicans spend trying to find something to pin on her while trotting out the most incompetent dirty dozen they could find then nominating the worst among them?

  19. Pete
    Dude, she erased her emails from her private server.
    She always gets rid of the evidence.
    She doesn’t remember security clearance training.
    Deny Deny Deny
    She firced people to correspond with her on her private email
    She didn’t know that c ment classified
    The fbi called her reckless careless and negligent
    Her parties doj refuses to investigate
    Her partys fbi wont prosecute
    Its not the first time

    I despise trump
    I think he should get his due too

    You tribes folks wont say the same about her
    You are irresponsible and partisan

    You are following a bigot

  20. Good grief William, get a grip. Nobody here is defending Hillary…we’re just not going to allow Trump to be President. She’s not the big bad wolf that Fox spews has made her into. She’s a typical politician but if the FBI or DOJ didn’t find anything to convict her on, she’s free to go on. Just like the pressure cooker bomber that was interviewed by the FBI and they didn’t have anything they could lock him up for. Pick your battles.

  21. Aging
    Lets not go all Scott Walker when you don’t have a problem with what HRC does.

    Engineer Pete-
    Classic. Fox News!
    Coo Coo coochew!

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