From The Guardian, a master's class in understanding the web of groups politicians use to raise money to support their campaigns and campaigns of their allies - and how this money can turn into access and rewards for their donors. The article covers an investigation into the fundraising practices of WI Governor Scott Walker, which was stopped by Supreme Court justices this fundraising helped keep in office. Leaked documents from the prosecution, that the same court ordered destroyed and sealed, allow us for the first time to see the donors involved, how Walker helped raise the money and how spending that money was coordinated by consultants with connections to Walker. Read the whole thing!
"It was known as a John Doe investigation because, much like a grand jury, its subjects were kept anonymous while officials weighed whether or not to press charges. In this case, prosecutors alleged that there was evidence to indicate that Walker and his team of advisers and associates had set up a coordinated effort with lobbyists and major donors to swing elections by secretly pouring huge amounts of corporate cash into the races.
"The money was channeled through a third-party group, the DAs alleged, in order to circumvent state and federal rules that set limits on political contributions and require them to be publicly revealed."
"The email trail shows a pattern of behavior developing: Walker meets up with big corporate donors and encourages them to contribute unlimited sums of money through WCfG in secret, then shortly after the checks start to flow. In June 2011, the emails show, the governor had dinner with the CEO of the largest privately owned trucking company in the US, Schneider National, in the hope of getting him and his peers to donate $250,000."
“Stress the donations to WiCFG are not disclosed and can accept Corporate donations without limits,” Walker's talking points said."
"The John Doe files reveal that the billionaire owner of NL Industries, one of America's leading producers of lead used in paint until the ban, secretly donated $750,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth at a time when Walker and his fellow Republican senators were fighting their recall elections. Also in the same time-frame, the Republican-controlled senate passed, and Walker signed into law, legal changes that attempted to grant effective immunity to lead manufacturers from any compensation claims for lead paint poisoning."