Professor of Pain
For your consideration: Leaked court documents from ‘John Doe investigation’ in Wisconsin lay bare pervasive influence of corporate cash on modern US elections
Turns out Scott Walker did indeed collude with 3rd party groups, a violation of campaign finance laws at the time, until the Republican controlled legislature changed the rules, of course.
The John Doe files reveal that Walker's own advisers reached the conclusion that the large sums flowing into WCfG's [Wisconsin Club for Growth] coffers from corporate donors was critical to the survival of the Republican senators in their recall elections. In a memo sent to Walker shortly after the elections in August 2011, his former top campaign consultant RJ Johnson looked back on the contest and ruminated that “Our efforts were run by Wisconsin Club for Growth ... who coordinated spending through 12 different groups. Most spending by other groups was directly funded by grants from the Club.”
He went on to note that WCfG “raised 12 million dollars and ran a soup to nuts campaign ... Polling, focus groups and message development was a collaborative effort.” A mass of micro-targeted mail-outs and TV advertising that was bought with the donations had the impact that they “moved independent swing voters to the GOP candidate”.
This collusion included bringing in an unprecedented amount of money (some $3.5 million) into the ostensibly nonpartisan WI Supreme Court for the election of David Prosser...
The correspondence reveals how Walker's network of associates vowed to go to work to keep Prosser in his job, and thus preserve (or “maintain”) the court's conservative upper hand. “It would be good for [Hendricks] to talk with us or have her see our plan,” writes RJ Johnson, the then “general consultant” to Governor Walker's campaign committee. He says that WCfG “is leading the coalition to maintain the court. Thus far I have raised 450k and am looking to raise an additional 409k.”
Johnson name-checks other sources of big money donations that he intends to tap. Leo Leonard of the conservative legal group the Federalist Society was looking for an extra $200,000, he says, and there were hopes for a further $1m from the US Chamber of Commerce.
He wasn't bragging. As election day approached, money from rightwing lobby groups and corporations began to pour into Wisconsin, unseen by the public, as the message got out that Prosser's salvation was a necessary step to safeguarding Walker's radical rightwing reforms and Act 10.
...ensuring a favorable outcome for the John Doe investigation:
In July 2015 the state's highest court, the supreme court of Wisconsin, terminated the John Doe investigation before any charges were brought. The conservative majority of the court ruled that the prosecutors had made a basic misreading of campaign finance law and targeted individuals who were “wholly innocent of any wrongdoing”.
In a contentious twist to the ruling, the justices ordered the prosecutors to “permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation”.