Sunday, August 24, 2014

Following The $$: The Walker/Nixon/Watergate Connection

Why Walkergate - - Walker's secret campaign donations - - are his personal Watergate

Compare two stories and quotes about campaign cash and spending coordination.

From CNN a couple of years ago:
While the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in later this year, some observers say our political leaders have already forgotten a key lesson of Watergate: that anonymous money corrupts political campaigns.  
"Watergate was basically a campaign finance scandal," says Chris Dolan, a political science professor at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.  
Dolan and others say this historical amnesia can be seen in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows corporations and unions to give unlimited campaign donations to so-called super PACs as long as those political action committees are not coordinated with a candidate's campaign...
Keeping illegal donations hidden was a prime concern of the Nixon White House after the arrests, says Barry Sussman, a former Washington Post editor who helped lead coverage into the scandal.
Nixon didn't just cover up a burglary. His re-election campaign chiefs had asked for and received millions in illegal, secret contributions from major American companies. 
From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Friday:
Robert Stelter, an investigator with Milwaukee County district attorney's office, said in documents released Friday that the probe showed the Wisconsin Club for Growth gave donors a way to contribute money anonymously and without limits in support of Walker.
Stelter argued that the coordinated effort between Walker's campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth represented a violation of Wisconsin election laws, which place strict limits on donations and spending by candidates.
Prosecutors contend candidates and outside groups cannot collaborate on their messaging and strategy. Walker and the club have contended they can, because the club's ads do not explicitly tell people who to vote for or against...
The records include example after example of Walker or his aides encouraging donors to give money to the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
Two final observations: 

*  Give John Dean credit. The former Nixon White House counsel said 28 months ago that Walker was more Nixonian than Nixon.  

*  And if Walker wants us to believe there was nothing wrong with the secret money routing, and that he didn't know anything about a secretly-routed $700,000 donation from a mining company for which he helped win and signed special legislation to dig a controversial giant open-pit operation in Northern Wisconsin, then why was it all kept secret in the first place?

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