Bought And Paid For: Wisconsin Supreme Court Saves Scott Walker From Corruption Charges

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I don’t regularly follow the politics of Wisconsin extremely closely, but something just doesn’t seem right about that state. By all accounts, Scott Walker has been a below average governor, isn’t even very popular and was damn near booted out of office just a couple of years after being elected. Yet somehow he won re-election this past November and is seen as a leading Republican presidential candidate.

I just don’t get it.

And he’s a bumbling idiot on top of all of that. I think the fact that most Americans have never really heard him speak is a big reason why he’s doing fairly well in so many presidential polls.

But a recent story by is easily one of the most alarming things about the Wisconsin governor that I’ve come across so far.

In case you weren’t aware, Walker was being investigated for breaking campaign finance laws and corruption during his 2012 recall election. It was alleged that he coordinated with various conservative groups – which is against the law.

Well, he won’t have to worry about that anymore because the case was thrown out by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-2 decision, with all evidence ordered to be returned and destroyed. To top it off, the four justices who ruled to throw out the case against Walker all received campaign funds from the groups Walker was alleged to have conspired with illegally.

According to

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) estimated that the Wisconsin Club for Growth spent $400,000 on Justice Annette Ziegler in 2007; $507,000 on Justice Michael Gableman in 2008; $520,000 on Justice David Prosser in 2011; and $350,000 on Justice Patience Roggensack in 2013.

WDC also estimated that Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent $2.2 million for Ziegler; $1.8 million for Gableman; $1.1 million for Prosser; and $500,000 for Roggensack. Citizens for a Strong America spent an estimated $985,000 in support of Prosser.

That the justices accepted monies from parties involved in the case they were deciding would seem like a conflict of interest. However, the court in 2010 changed the rules so that campaign contributions were no longer a reason for judicial recusal. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce helped draft the rule change, the Brennan Center for Justice reported.

So, because of a rule change campaign donations aren’t allowed to factor in to a justice recusing themselves from a case. In other words, in Wisconsin, state Supreme Court justices can be bought. In my opinion, that is exactly what happened here.

It’s absurd that these charges were thrown out by four justices who received huge sums of money from the very groups linked to Walker’s alleged illegal activities.

That is absolutely ridiculous. Even if I were a Republican I would have to admit that’s extremely shady.

This is why it’s a terrible idea for judges at any level to have to run for office. Our judicial system is meant to be presided over by impartial interpreters of the law – not politicians in black robes whose gavel might be swayed based upon whether or not the defendant kicked in a little campaign cash during their last election.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Eg Kbbs

    May I add that on top of what is mentioned in the article, the Fed Election Commission has been so weakened in all the nation that they aren’t even pretending to try to halt election fraud.

    • Charles Vincent

      Wait I thought the left said the teaparty was lying about the fact that there was election fraud??? I mean that’s why the teaparty wanted voter ID laws. Something other developed countries have yet we don’t…

      • William Mann

        @Charles Vincent: Clever… but you “wait” I thought the left said the tea party was lying about the fact that there was “VOTER” fraud. “ELECTION fraud (Redistricting/Gerrymandering) is what the allegers of “VOTER” fraud are trying to divert attention away from, sort of like what you just did right there, Charles. Nice Try Troll!

      • Charles Vincent

        Committing fraud in an election as a voter is still election fraud chief. Gerrymandering is a joke and is a distraction to keep the voters from seeing what politicians do when the voters are distracted.

      • Charles Vincent

        The conclusion from the WP article seem to be its not a problem even when it happens below are the three points the authors say on this.

        So, given these facts, how much of Congress’s polarization can be
        attributed to gerrymandering? To get at this, my collaborators, Keith
        Poole of the University of Georgia and Howard Rosenthal of New York University, and I decided to try our hand at gerrymandering by using our computers to draw our own districts. For each map, we used the characteristics of the districts — partisanship, average income, racial and ethnic composition — to predict how liberal or conservative their representatives might be. But even when we tried our best to create as many heterogeneous and competitive districts as possible, the predicted level of polarization was only slightly below what we observed in the real Congress. So even if there were a radical transformation of how legislative districts are drawn, the effects on polarization would be minimal.

        Still, isn’t it just common sense to redraw districts to
        maximize competition? My answer is probably not. A system in which all districts elected middle-of-the-road candidates would deprive many groups of congressional representation. Not only would African Americans, Latinos and other racial and ethnic groups be underrepresented, so would liberal and conservative voters.
        Representative institutions such as Congress should have a membership that fully reflects the diverse interests and views of the public.

        But wouldn’t creating districts that reflect the views of these groups harm voters by eliminating partisan competition? Wouldn’t this lack of competition produce lawmakers who are low-quality, ineffective and possibly corrupt? Not necessarily. Political scientists Shigeo Hirano of Columbia University and James Snyder of Harvard University have shown that in districts dominated by a single party, the competition within primary elections does as good a job of selecting effective, talented legislators and tossing out ineffective, scandal-ridden incumbents as the general election does in districts with party competition. Reforming the redistricting process to favor party competition could reduce the representative nature of legislatures without increasing any of the supposed benefits of competition.

        Should Americans stop worrying, then, and learn to love the gerrymander? No. Even if its effects on polarization are as small as I believe them to be, the practice of elected politicians drawing districts for themselves and their political allies is an invitation to overt corruption. A key to any successful democracy is a widespread belief in the fairness and impartiality of elections. Having incumbents participate in designing districts promoting their job security does little to enhance the legitimacy of American democracy. But even if we take the politics out of drawing the
        maps, we shouldn’t expect the divisiveness and polarization of our
        current politics to wither away.

        That’s a deeper problem than mapmaking can solve.

        This article tells one how to spot gerrymandering. also according to both articles gerrymandering can only happen in the house because senators run state wide not from Districts like the house of reps does.
        Moreover the gist I get from both articles is that both the democrats and the republicans are not screwing eachother they are screwing Third party candidates(not a shocker they been suppressing them for a long time) and the moderate/independent voter.
        My question is if you’re up in arms over this 1) are you mad because 3rd party and moderates are getting shafted or are you 2) Up in arms because you think the left is trying to screw the right or vice versa?

      • mmmjv

        Election fraud and voter fraud are two different things. Election fraud is much more dangerous but the tea baggers aren’t interested in fighting that because none of the “solutions” suppress the vote

      • Charles Vincent

        Actually they are the same voters vote in elections and if they do so fraudulently, it’s by definition election fraud. Are there different kinds of election fraud , certainly. Way to try to make such a narrow definition in an attempt to equivocate.

      • mmmjv

        No they are not the same. Rigging one of those paperless voting machines, like what may have been done in Ohio in 2004, would be an example of election fraud. But conservatives have no problem with the possibility of that happening even though it’s much easier to actually tip the results. Somebody voting twice, thereby putting one whole extra vote in that good God could actually tip the results if it was a very very very very very very very close race, that’s an example of voter fraud

      • Charles Vincent

        So getting a bunch of ballot box stuffer’s to vote multiple times isn’t a voter form of election fraud? I think you need to re-think what you just said chief.

        Fraud is fraud regardless of whether or not it changes the outcome chief.

      • mmmjv

        Well according to the Republicans it’s not, because they have done nothing at all to stop that. Even with voter ID laws you don’t need an ID for some friend who works at the election commission to slip you a half dozen ballots

      • Charles Vincent

        I don’t care what republicans or democrats think they are both lying assclowns and I do believe a word that comes out of their mouths. No you don’t but thanks for proving my point. It’s election fraud no matter how you slice it chief. The whole voter ID thing is needed to prevent a different form of election fraud. The problem you seem to be having is you are thinking to narrowly and you seem to have a one track mind.

      • mmmjv

        I’m not the one thinking narrowly. That would be the Republicans. The type of voter or election fraud I mentioned in an earlier post won’t be stopped or even slowed down with voter ID laws. In fact, something else Republicans are doing these days, consolidating polling places resulting in 6 hour lines, actually makes it easier to commit voter fraud. Much easier to get lost in the crowd as you make your way over to the ballot box to drop in that half dozen ballots

      • Charles Vincent

        Really is that why you couldn’t see that voter fraud is a type of election fraud?
        Democrats are just as stupid and narrow minded as you say the republicans are, and its still irrelevant.
        Yes you did, and you failed to see my post, or maybe you failed to read it thoroughly. But here it is again.
        Voter id laws are needed to prevent non citizens from voting. something different is needed to stop the type of election fraud you’re lamenting about. You see, you seem to think things are one-size fits all, when in reality one needs to have several approaches to complex problems. you knbow to cover all the bases.

      • mmmjv

        “something different” Gee, I wonder why you call it that instead of something more specific. Probably because not a damn thing is being done about those type of fraud. A couple of illegal immigrants isn’t going to change the results of the election. One person hacking into a voting machine could very easily change the results of an election

      • Charles Vincent

        Perhaps its because I have previously iterated that there are several kinds of election fraud not just one like you keep insisting on.

        “A couple of illegal immigrants isn’t going to change the results of the
        election. One person hacking into a voting machine could very easily
        change the results of an election”
        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ you said this^^^^^^^^^^^
        Look it doesn’t matter if it changed the outcome of an election or not its still fraud chief. And in case you haven’t notice there are more than a couple illegal immigrants here just saying.

        “Probably because not a damn thing is being done about those type of fraud.”
        Ignoratio elenchi. We are not debating that we are debating what election fraud is. Moreover I am making a point that the tea party made an issue of election fraud and the left was like no there isn’t any fraud when they pushed for voter ID laws to start correcting the fraud issues which was in the right direction and could have spawned further election reform.

      • mmmjv

        I have never said there is only one type of voter fraud, or election fraud. You’re thinking of the cons, they’re the ones who think there’s only one kind, the kind that can be “solved” by voter ID laws

        And by “voter fraud” they mean Democrats winning elections

      • Charles Vincent

        Actually you did in your very first reply to my post and you tried to summarily dismiss me in an ad lapidem fashion. As to the rest of this post refer to my other post to you.

      • mmmjv

        6 to 8 hour lines in Democratic areas only. Making the students at a liberal college walk a mile down a highway, no sidewalk, to vote in a voting precinct that’s about 15 times too crowded, but the students at the conservative college can vote on campus. Early voting in Republican areas but not in Democratic areas. The only kind of “voter fraud” that kind of crap helps prevent is Democrats winning

      • mmmjv
      • Charles Vincent

        Hmm I don’t see anywhere here where polls open times are changed by district…

      • Charles Vincent

        Sorry that’s horseshit and you know it. It’s also narrow minded its the other guys fault mentality. and don’t even pretend that the democrats are any better than republicans cause that’s horseshit as well.

  • William Mann

    A lot of questions about un-delineated dark money and election fraud being significant factors relative to two gubernatorial elections, a recall election, multiple allegations of redistricting, bribery et cetera., and yet, he always manages to squirm out of it with (of course) the substantial assistance of: “He is the 2016 Golden Boy favorite for Reich-Wing ‘King Makers’: Brother’s Koch.”

  • 1JudgeNotLestYeBeJudged1

    What can be done about all or any of this corruption? If the Corporate Machine can come up with these dastardly plans and effectively carry them out, why isn’t there a counter-attack strategy? I’m amazed that among all the liberal or progressive law scholars (they are out there, right?) can’t get together to stop this crap. wth?

  • mmmjv

    You want to stop election fraud and voter fraud? Ok, here’s a few ideas, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any Republican legislature to ram these through. They don’t make it harder to vote

    A paper trail so a manual recount is possible

    The ballot box. I’ve seen ballot boxes that are nothing more than a box with a hole at the top where you can drop in a ballot, or a couple of ballots, all by yourself, without the assistance of a poll worker. Got a half dozen ballots you’d like to drop in? Hey, no problem. Huge security flaw there.

    Crowded polling places. It’s become the fashion among Republicans to consolidate Democratic polling places resulting in eight hour lines and very crowded polling places. Making it a whole lot easier to get lost in the crowd if you want to drop in those half dozen ballots.

    More polling places, not more. The more polling places there are the smaller an area each serves and the smaller an area each serves the more likely somebody there is that that guy saying he’s Mr Jones of 123 Main Street isn’t Mr Jones of 123 Main Street because Mr Jones died last week.

    Related to the above, poll workers should work in their own neighborhood, so they know more of the people

    The transport of the ballot boxes to the Election Commission? How secure are they in your area? Is it possible to stop somewhere on the way and toss out some ballots and then close the box again and no one’s the wiser? Here in the fine city of Cambridge Massachusetts we have a pretty complicated procedure we have to go through to close that box, involving seals and other stuff. There’s no way that box is going to be opened without people knowing it’s been opened. And even after all that it’s taken to the Election Commission by the Warden or Clerk who is driven there in a police car.

    Of course after all that they’ll still be people trying to commit voter fraud. If you’re a poll worker and somebody comes to the table and says “Hi I’m Eric Holder” and you know they’re not Eric Holder what do you do? Jump up and proclaim “YOU’RE NOT ERIC HOLDER!”? No, what you do, or at least this should be the procedure, is you give him the ballot. Then while he’s in the booth voting you inform the police officer, and also the person manning the ballot box. You let the person who’s not Eric Holder come out and give his name and address (Or Eric Holder’s name and address) to the checkout table. Then you let him go to the ballot box and put his ballot down so the poll worker can turn the crank to pull the ballot box. But the poll worker doesn’t. This is where the police officer steps in and makes the arrest. That’s why that video that was put out by James O’Keefe is such a joke. It’d be like going into a store and filming yourself putting something in your pocket, and then taking it out again and putting it back on the shelf, and then posting it on Youtube as proof that the store has lousy security.