How the Billionaires Bought Justice For Scott Walker

Scott Walker is the perfect example of how billionaires can purchase justice a la carte to protect their pet politicians.

Now that’s not to say that Scott Walker himself is a billionaire. But he has a well-known relationship with billionaires like the Koch Brothers - and their assorted front groups. And in short, that’s why the Wisconsin Supreme Court dropped its John Doe probe into whether Scott Walker criminally violated campaign finance laws to win his recall election in 2012.

The Koch brothers and their front groups, particularly the Wisconsin Club for Growth, along with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group (also known as the WMC) have been setting up this ruling for almost a decade.

This story starts in 2007 with an election for an open seat on the state Supreme Court. In that election, conservative front groups spent $2.9 million backing the conservative Annette Ziegler and attacking her liberal opponent.

Total spending on that election was four times the previous record for a Wisconsin Supreme Court race. And that was just to keep a liberal from winning the seat. And In 2008, those same groups spent $2.7 million to unseat liberal justice Louis Butler and to put in place conservative Michael Gableman.

But after two elections of blatant spending by partisan interest groups, the legislature pushed back and passed the “Impartial Justice Act.” It set up a clean campaign finance system in Wisconsin and it even included a matching funds provision to help candidates counter negative ads against them.

But by then, the march to statewide plutocracy was in motion. And the Kochs weren’t going to let finance laws block them from owning the state government.

Walker won his first gubernatorial election in 2010, riding a wave of finance and support from Americans for Prosperity. That’s another Koch money front group. And when he took office, Walker and the newly conservative legislature quickly and quietly stuck a repeal of the Impartial Justice Act into his first state budget in 2011.

Later in 2011, one of the conservative judges on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court was up for re-election - David Prosser. The state was in upheaval over Walker’s assault on public unions, and the Kochs couldn’t afford to lose a seat on the court.

So the Wisconsin Club for Growth and WMC spent an estimated $2.5 million to keep conservative Justice David Prosser on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court - while his own campaign only spent about 700,000 dollars.

He only won re-election by 7,004 votes. But $2.5 million is a small price for billionaires to protect a shill like Walker. Especially when the end result is a wholly owned state government - executive, legislature, and the courts.

But all those gains were threatened when prosecutors started investigating Walker for coordinating with the Wisconsin Club for Growth and WMC during Walker’s recall election in 2012.

In response, the Wisconsin Club for Growth filed a lawsuit to end the investigation. Remember, in the last decade alone: three of the seven Wisconsin Supreme Court justices have won their elections with help from the Kochs. In the same way as Scott Walker. And with the same groups.

Knowing this, prosecutors filed for two of the justices to recuse themselves. And under a 2009 US Supreme Court ruling, they would have had to recuse themselves in pretty much every other state. But not in Wisconsin. Because it pays to own the state Supreme Court.

The court simply adopted rules - THAT WERE PROPOSED BY THE WMC - that say very simply that “that the receipt of a lawful campaign contribution shall not, by itself, warrant judicial recusal.”

Make no mistake. These groups are simply dark money cover groups for the Koch brothers and their billionaire buddies to funnel as much money as they want into state and federal elections.

And the way they do it is technically “legal” because of the disastrous rulings in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo.

Which brings us back to the Koch Brothers’ presidential candidate of choice: Scott Walker. Since Scott Walker became governor in 2011, Wisconsin has been nothing but a staging ground for the Koch’s plan to buy the White House in 2016.

If Scott Walker and these dark money groups faced real investigation, it wouldn’t just lead to Walker possibly going to jail and losing out on being president.

It would also call into question the entire idea of campaign spending as free speech. It would expose the unfettered power of money to control our political system. And THAT would be disastrous for the Kochs, who have pledged to spend over 800 million dollars in this upcoming election.

Sadly for our democracy, the Kochs and their friends spent over 10 million dollars in less than a decade to buy Wisconsin's Supreme Court.

And that investment paid off huge today, when the court ended the investigation into whether Scott Walker violated any campaign finance laws and ordered all the evidence destroyed. This is a true crisis for our Republic.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 36 weeks ago

Have you noticed that all the Democratic nominees for the Presidential candidacy are from the northeast coast? Sanders: VT. Chafee: RI. Clinton: NY. O'Malley: MD. Webb: VA. Even if Joe Biden entered the race, that would just add DE. If a running mate is chosen mostly for geographical diversity, the same options would apply no matter who ends up as the Presidential candidate.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 36 weeks ago

Republicans are usually from Texas - or thereabout.

jwc3119's picture
jwc3119 7 years 36 weeks ago

This Koch-funded election of a conservative majority in the Wisconsin Supreme Court gives a new definition for the phrase "getting off Scott free".

rws's picture
rws 7 years 35 weeks ago

does any one know if there's a possibility the destruction order can be stayed at the federal level or is this truly the end of the road for the gathered evidence? are there any other legal avenues left?

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 7 years 35 weeks ago

The fact that the Kock Brothers financed Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered that "all the evidence to be destroyed" in this case (an exceptionally unusual legal practice) clearly shows how corrupt they are. Evidently, they DON'T want news reporters or historians to see at some later date just how corrupt they (or Walker) have been.

The Wisconsin voters who voted to put Republicans in charge of their government "screwed themselves" in many, many ways.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 7 years 35 weeks ago

Speaking of billionairs, Scott Walker's motto ought to be, "keeping the common man in eternal subjection". China's government might own most if not all it's corporations, but the world's biggest multinationals and billionaires own our government..& our Millitary industrial complex. Which is worse?

That's all I need to know to suspect that Jade Helm 15 might be covertly no good at all for the American people. I know Thom can't honestly discuss certain things w/out losing all credibility in D.C. Still, not all of us who cast a critical eye on 'Jade Helm' are gun burrying wack-jobs. In fact, it concerns me how some of the corporate media unify & rush to point fingers at such people without any documented proof of them, making it impossible to critically discuss the issue without being lumped in with the anti-government loonies. Some of us are concerned about the way the Pentagon plans to deal with climate chainge (what it considers the biggest threat to national security) given the fact that they are the fossil fuel industry's biggest customer. The the entire south west will soon be out of water...unless your rich. Here's hoping Thom's criticism of those critical of such domestic excercises was a carefully couched 'Belt-way insider's' way of giving a shout out to his listeners so we could educate ourselves.

I see dwindling resources & skyrocketting population as the real reason for the Billionaire's global austerity, hording of money & desire for deflation/economic contraction. They want to deny access to resources to as many as possible as climate change gears up. And when a critical point is reached, people are going to riot all over the planet. I see this as the reason for: US Military Launches Jade Helm Domestic Training Operations

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 35 weeks ago

sandlewould -- I think your fear should not be relieved even if there were no Jade Helm. The military training for any insurgency seems to me would be good enough to keep your fear alive.

liz banker 7 years 35 weeks ago

Thom, you should be more worried and concern about Hillary Clinton.

Scott Walker will implode by the time the Republicans nominate their candidate. And please, Gov Walker is NO Ronald Reagan. Gov Walker does have an “ah shucks” simpleton delivery in his vocie but he truly lacks the “maturity” persona Ronald Reagan possessed. And, Gov Walker chatting about coupons and what great bargains shopping at Kohl’s can be, during his presidential announcement speech earlier in the week, was pretty laughable.

Here is why Hillary Clinton poses more of a threat.

Just read HP’s recent expose on Hillary's top fund raisers and donors; especially that of Lynn Rothchild (

“Lynn Forrest de Rothschild is back as a Clinton bundler in 2016. After Clinton's loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 primary, de Rothschild flipped her support to Republican presidential candidate John McCain. She backed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in the 2012 Republican primary, and Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election.”

When Hillary made her so-called concession speech to Obama winning the Democratic nomination in 2008, I don’t recall seeing not one person of “Diversity” amongst a sea of “White” faces. Hillary and MSNBC wants AA’s to think that they really have nowhere else to go other than to the front-runner Democrat Hillary Clinton, and that, the “lesser of two evils” is the only conclusion and choice Democrats will have in the General Election.

Also Thom, read today's Bloomberg’s article regarding Hedge Fund Titans to back Hillary (and so do Silicon Valley moguls):

Now, seriously, Thom, after Hillary gets into the White House, are we gonna see the likes of a “Timothy Geithner” or “Lawrence Summers” advising Hillary to go “Bold” on Too Big To Fail, reinstating Glass-Steagall, demanding and implementing Dodd-Frank, prosecuting financial crimes? Will Hillary be “tough as nails” as many of her supporters claim her to be, when it comes to the XL Pipeline (one of her major campaign donors), the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Citizens United, GMO labeling and other establishment bullsh**t policies we’ve been hearing about from both parties, for decades? Will Hillary give tacit support, if not the green light, to Israel, regardless of SOS Kerry's recent negotiated efforts with Iran, to bomb or nuke Iran?

Just asking, as inquiring minds like to know.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 7 years 35 weeks ago

chuckle8 : So True..

KaraGirl's picture
KaraGirl 7 years 35 weeks ago

I think that we need to Take a step back hear and look at what is in my mind by and large the biggest issue in this upcoming election. And that is voter fraud, and the wanton act by the richest among us to in a sence bye an election. What I would like to see is an all hands in commitment by both parties to ensure that this next presidential election is not hacked or incombered or incompetent in any way. I'd like to have some of our IT specialists from say apple, or Samsung, two corporations that in my mind are so big that they are outside the realm of political corruption, come in and offer up a new software protical that will insure that the elections in the U.S. from hear on out arnt able to be hacked. Since, these are two prime examples of corporations that actually depend on the welfare of the common people to afford their products, that it might actually be beneficial for them to go against the mainstream Republican billionaires, to ensure that their line of clientele, the common people of not just the Us but everywhere, get a fair share in their say as to how their respective governments should work, and hold honest true to life elections. I may be dreaming. But I've learned, follow the money. How do you get past corporate greed, and corruption, find the one or two corporations out their that rely on public need, as apposed, to corporate backstabbing for political gain. Apple couldn't give a shit Who wins this next election, all it cares about are how many people can buy it's products, Samsung couldn't give a shit Who wins, as long as people are able to buy their products. If we can prove to corporate entities such as these that it would be better to invest in the future of the middle class and the poor not only in our country but everywhere, why wouldn't, a corporation that had Steve jobs as it's head step in and make sure that things like electronic voting were unhackable. That way we the people could decide. Unfortunately we as a people are at a crossroads, which corporation do we run with??? Big oil? They will run is into the ground, natural gas, same thing. Big auto? He'll recalls are happening all the time for shit that kills people. No environmental corporation has been able to stand up against the polluter giants, so what do we do. Government is on it's knee's. to these people. And Let's be real. They are people. They breath the same air we do. They just would like a massive amount of us to ether work for them or die quickly. So they don't have to pay retirement and pentions. They want to get things back to lords and peasants. So Let's ask help from apple, from Samsung, from Microsoft, yes Microsoft, bill and his wife don't have anything to do with day to day operation, they contribute roughly 1 billion every year to charity around the world. Those are the ones we need to step in and help design a new unhackable voter process. Those are the ones that will look twards equality. Those are the ones that aside from bill, apple and Samsung and Microsoft, depend a great deal on we the middle class and we the poor, prospering, otherwise, they loose profit share.
Sun-zu. The art of war-look in improbable places for allies in your struggle. You may find nothing. You may find something.

I kill you with truth!!

mjansen's picture
mjansen 7 years 35 weeks ago

In American culture, religion teams up with Forbes 400 King Billionaires to sell us ignorance, fear, hate, and division like they were the most efficient political control resources; and they are. Surrender thy thinking to ascension card salesmen. Fear a dreaded imaginary devil. Hate Forbes media’s creations …the “hate-labeled” groups, ideologies, individuals or behaviors (producing a divided America). The product is a nation and a planet that are sold right out from under its clinically paranoid schizophrenic people …for the equivalent of beads and whiskey.
Blind-Belief is dolt-whispering-snake-poison. Team Jingoism is on-the-hunt with blind-belief and lies for weapons and a mission to take no prisoners. The “Divide-and-Conquer Strategy” division advances all the goals of capitalism and fascism without conscience. An ascension card is a grave digger that covers all the fascists’ mistakes.
Historically speaking, it looks like “ignorant” hunter gatherers have replaced spears and stones with preacher and Forbes’ media seeded stupidity and loathing, and hundred-shot barrel clips and bombs. The Roman Empire (now w/holy for 2,000 years) wedded to the opportunists of Forbes 400 Kings have turned the USA into a (fireballer-imitating) trigger-finger incubator, red-state cracker-oven warrior-mill, a CIA – Corporate Infantry of Aristocrats and bomb-boom shock-n-awe (like the goo-goo eye-candy 4TH-a-JuLIE) war-hatchery with coastlines.
The private “internationally owned” Federal Reserve (Central/Monopoly) Bank has consecrated Forbes’ marriage-of-convenience to legislative rent-boy pimping Christianity with “IN GOD(‘s banksters of inside-jobs) WE TRUST” holy cards. Unfortunately, Forbes bought U.S. citizens off with big-boy and big-girl toys, (“Caesar’s Bread and Circuses”) mind-numbing sports, gene-pool runways, whimsical songs, fluttering symbols, pictograms of righteous masochism, and thought-shaping TV entertainment. And all that helped wash down and digest the fear, loathing, hate, and division …like it was legitimate food-for-thought and self-administered camouflage drugs for clinical paranoid schizophrenia. Profit-charter bankers of Fed Forbes 400 Kings sold us war insanity, self-inflicted cultural damage, and the U.S. Treasury debt with useful distraction and media lies. And Christianity waited, like a salvage yard, to pick us up when we are broken.

Authoritarian worship "creates" the sheep that factually all-powerful billionaires love all the way to the bank. “Immaculate Conception” is their game. Forbes 400 King’s dolt whispering snake media are the conduit for (preacher initiated) “devil-hate” and its offshoot, (right-wing nut-job Fascist Media consummated), "hate-labeling." Divide and Conquer is still Forbes 400’s best torture tool against American neo-conservative dolts. Blind-Belief is a cancer that emboldens their “capitalism” to eat democracies, and enslave and cannibalize friendly and unfriendly cultures, countries, and “isms.”
The corporate wars that press Forbes 400’s agenda uses pledge-flag and sports-hero believing American kids to grease the gears of the Military-Congressional-Bank-Oil-Drug-Box Store-Sports-&-War Corp’s Complex. Watching America’s sons and daughters use the Ascension Card to follow in the steps of a sacrificed (ascension card selling) masochist bastard son (J.C.) should not leave a sane person with “Thee Afterglow.” But a vast majority of Americans are being “magically screwed” by billionaires. Holy cards, paths and breadcrumbs left behind in the form of ancient tyrant’s breath (captured in a biblical windsock) leads straight to Forbes’ corporate (job-creator god-savior) slavery-w/a-night-pass jobs, their prisons, their armies, and the graves of a Christian death cult in America. ::
><> 3,580ac 07-18-15 04:40pm E.S.T. Indiana Grim Reaper Protest Persona

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 35 weeks ago

mjansen -- I don't disagree with anything you say; or, at least anything you say that I can understand. However, you do not seem to offer any possible solutions. My number one solution is "card check". With power of the unions we can adopt Warren Buffet's cap and trade approach to international trade. Warren Buffet's "cap and trade" for trade is my number 2 solution. My next set of solutions would to be enforce the laws we already have; that is, enforce The Sherman Anti-trust Act, The Buy American Act of 1936, The current immigration laws (put CEOs in jail that hire illegal immigrants - eVerify), etc.

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