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Walker Transfers $40,000 More to Legal Defense Fund, All But Confirms He is a Target of the WI John Doe Investigation

The Wisconsin John Doe Investigation — affectionately known as Walkergate — has already brought six former aides to now-Governor Scott Walker to justice. More convictions are expected and recent actions taken by the Governor suggest he, too, is a target of the investigation.

While spokespeople for the Governor ensure the press that Walker is fully cooperating with investigators, a shift of cash to a defense fund is a signal that Walker will eventually be in the legal spotlight.

On January 31st, Gov. Walker shifted $40,000 from his campaign to his legal defense fund which now holds $200,000. Walker says that the money is needed to assist in cooperating with the DA’s office. PolitiScoop points out, however, that under Wisconsin law states defense funds can only be created for government officials being investigated or charged with breaking campaign finance or election laws:

Wisconsin Statutes permit a state government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws [chapter 11, Wisconsin Statutes] or prohibited election practices [chapter 12, Wisconsin Statutes] to establish a “legal defense fund” for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation of those chapters.

John Doe investigators are currently batting 1.000 with all six of those charged being convicted.

Teamster Nation summarizes the Walker aides convicted to date:

Walker’s campaign website manager Brian Pierick was sentenced Thursday to community service and a $2,100 fine for the misdemeanor of sexting a 17-year-old boy.
• Walker’s deputy chief of staff, Tim Russell, was sentenced in January to two years in prison for stealing from a charity meant for military combat veterans and their families.
• Walker’s constituent services coordinator Darlene Wink took a plea deal in which she was given probation for two misdemeanors for planning campaigning fundraisers, including one with Sarah Palin, on the taxpayer dime.
• Walker’s Veterans Services Commissioner Kevin Kavanaugh was convicted in December of stealing $51,000 from a charity for military combat veterans. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
• Walker’s deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch took a plea deal and was sentenced in November to six months in prison and probation for doing political fundraising at her county job.
• Walker’s campaign contributor William Gardner was convicted on two felony counts for the largest campaign finance violation in state history. He laundered more than $43,000 to Walker’s campaign. He was fined and sentenced to two years of probation.

Democrats and other Walker opponents are chomping at the bit for the investigation to run its course. When asked about the most recent transfer of campaign funds, Democratic party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said, simply, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

For more background and detail on Walkergate, read the latest from the Cognitive Dissidence blog.


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