Alex Constantine - June 19, 2014
By Chuck Goudie
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Prosecutors are alleging that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is at the center of a "criminal scheme." That politically explosive charge is in court documents ordered released Thursday by a federal appeals court in Chicago.
Within the 250 pages of contested court documents, prosecutors claim that Gov. Walker was in the middle of a criminal fundraising scheme. Gov. Walker, considered a possible Republican presidential contender in 2016, has not been charged with anything and we'll hear from him in a moment. But first, the claim that Walker and his allies illegally coordinated fundraising efforts with outside political groups.
The Wisconsin governor, who was at a water quality awards ceremony Thursday in Milwaukee, found himself in hot water because of records ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Prosecutors label it as a "criminal scheme" in 2011 by Walker, his campaign and two top GOP operatives. They claim Walker and the others bypassed state election laws and illegally raised campaign money through 12 conservative groups- "extensive unlawful activity" is how prosecutors put it. On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Walker asked about the prosecutor's claim that he was part of a criminal scheme.
"I think it's pretty clear, you've got two judges, both a state judge and a federal judge who said that they didn't buy into the argument that has been presented at this point. I think their words speak pretty strongly both at the federal and the state level," said Gov. Walker.
The unsealed records include an email in which Walker discusses his election fundraising strategy with GOP strategist Karl Rove. Prosecutors say Rove and other national Republican leaders discussed with Walker the possible illegal coordination of how to finance Walkers' recall election.
"Well I hope people will look at the facts and the facts are, you have a state judge that wasn't appointed by me, wasn't aligned with me at all make the case earlier this year that they didn't think there was a foundation for this. And you've got a federal judge that made a similar finding," said Gov. Walker.
The investigation of Gov. Walker's fundraising began in 2012. Initially, authorities were looking into possible illegal coordination between an organization called the Wisconsin Club for Growth, Walker's campaign and other conservative groups. A federal judge has temporarily put that investigation on hold, but prosecutors are fighting to continue.