Wednesday, May 30, 2018

In MO governor's scandal, a WI echo

Missouri is the "Show Me State," so, appropriately, it's demanding sunlight on allegations that dark money coordination was involved in the demise of its GOP Governor Eric Greitens: 
Gov. Eric Greitens’ political nonprofit has until Friday to turn over documents to the Missouri House committee investigating allegations of misconduct against the governor as a precursor to possible impeachment. 
Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the organization, A New Missouri Inc., to turn over communications and documents showing potential coordination among the nonprofit, the governor and the governor's campaign committee, as well as expenditures related to advertising.
Map of the United States with Missouri highlighted
Reminds me here and there of this Journal Sentinel 2014 story: 
Gov. Scott Walker prodded outside groups and individuals to funnel millions of dollars into Wisconsin Club for Growth — a pro-Walker group directed by his campaign adviser — during the recall elections in 2011 and 2012, according to court documents unsealed for a short time Friday afternoon...
"The Governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth," said an April 28, 2011, email from Kate Doner, a Walker campaign consultant, to R.J. Johnson, an adviser to Walker's campaign and the advocacy group...
In the email, Doner wrote to Johnson that Walker wanted Wisconsin Club for Growth exclusively to coordinate campaign themes. "As the Governor discussed ... he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run thru one group to ensure correct messaging," she wrote.
But in 2015, Walker and Wisconsin moved away from the show me route:
Scott Walker signs bills dismantling GAB, overhauling campaign finance law
The campaign finance measure removes various limits on campaign contributions, some of which recently have not been in effect after being struck down in court. It lifts the ban on corporate contributions to political parties and legislative campaign committees and doubles individual contribution limits to candidates.
It makes clear that candidates may coordinate with issue advocacy groups, the type of activity that was at the center of the investigation into Walker’s campaign. Such groups seek to influence elections but don’t expressly call for the election or defeat of a particular candidate. 
Ironies aside, Walker signed the bill behind closed doors.
Scott Walker signs campaign finance, GAB bills in private ceremony
Having already tied up a loose end through a separate bill, as The New York Times noted, here.
Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Limiting Political Corruption Inquiries
And only later was more of the story revealed by The Guardian: 
The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian.
The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation.
The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections.
The state's response to the disclosures was a probe by GOP Attorney General and Walker ally Brad Schimel into how the documents were leaked.

Under Walker, Wisconsin remains the "Show Me As Little As Possible" state. 

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