“Prosecutors allege” Gov. Scott Walker (R) “was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators facing recall elections during 2011 and 2012, according to documents unsealed Thursday. In the documents, prosecutors laid out what they call an extensive ‘criminal scheme’ to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top Republican political operatives”¦[t]he documents include an excerpt from an email in which Walker tells Karl Rove, former top adviser to President George W. Bush, that” aide R.J. Johnson “would lead the coordination campaign.”
Walker “responded Thursday by criticizing the case that prosecutors were trying to build.” Walker: “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 state level.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
All 268 pages of documents released Thursday can be found on the Journal Sentinel site, as can an explanation of the complex progression of the long-running investigation, which is currently on hold and involves no criminal charges, up to this point. The Washington Post also diagrammed the relationship between the staffers and outside groups involved in the accusations.
In an appearance on Fox News Friday morning, Walker “said the John Doe probe has ‘been resolved’ by two judges who have blocked the investigation and asked for grassroots conservatives around the country to back him.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
WELL-TIMED AD BUY. Walker’s campaign “reserved $250,000 worth of TV air time on Thursday,” according to sources. “The sources said the ad flight will last 12 days. … [O]ne campaign source insisted that the buy was long planned, and was not made in response to the documents. Still, the timing of the buy — falling on the day of the documents being released, after Walker has been off the airwaves for many weeks — indicated to many political watchers some effort to respond broadly to the potentially damaging documents.” (Politico)
What We're Following See More »
An aide to Mitt Romney confirmed to the Washington Post that the 2102 GOP nominee will not attend the Republican convention this year. He joins the two living Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as 2008 nominee John McCain in skipping the event. Even among living Republican nominees, that leaves only Bob Dole who could conceivably show up. Dole did say in January that he'd prefer Trump to Ted Cruz, but his age (92) could keep him from attending.
In a long-awaiting new rule, the Food and Drug Administration will ban sale of all tobacco products—including e-cigarettes—to those under 18. The rule takes effect in 90 days. It's part of a larger package of regulations that "gives FDA authority to regulate—but not to ban—all tobacco products, from e-cigarettes to cigars and hookahs." Meanwhile, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill on Wednesday that would bump the legal age to buy all tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Sen. Ben Sasse, the most prominent elected official to declare that he's #NeverTrump, wrote an open letter on Facebook to the "majority of Americans who wonder why the nation that put a man on the moon can’t find a healthy leader who can take us forward together." Calling to mind recent conversations at a Fremont, Neb., Walmart, the senator pitted the presumptive general election battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as such a "terrible choice" that there would be an appetite for another candidate to emerge. In a parenthetical aside to reporters, Sasse ruled himself out. "Such a leader should be able to campaign 24/7 for the next six months," he wrote. "Therefore he/she likely can’t be an engaged parent with little kids." Meanwhile, his colleague Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted in a private recording obtained by Politico that Trump hurts his reelection chances.
"Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, approved a joint proposal presented by Judicial Watch and the State Department to take the depositions of officials" involved in the setup and use of Hillary Clinton's private email server, "including Cheryl D. Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff, Huma Abedin, a senior adviser to Clinton, and Bryan Pagliano, a State Department employee who serviced and maintained the server." He said Clinton could be deposed later on, though that may not be necessary.