Conflict Of Judgement

By Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Scott Walker. By Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, I wrote about my crazy neighbors across the river in Wisconsin. One of the “stars” of that piece was Governor Scott Walker. Scott’s had a rather interesting term as Governor; he’s survived a recall election and has had numerous investigations of his campaign and administration.

On May 6,  Judge Rudolph Randa of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ordered prosecutors to stop their investigation into the campaign spending and fundraising activities of Walker, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups immediately. The investigations were trying to discover if the Walker campaign and the conservative groups had illegally coordinated campaign strategies during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections in Wisconsin.

In his ruling, he told prosecutors to return all of the property seized during their investigation and to destroy copies of documents they obtained during their searches.The next day, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Randa’s order, ruling that he had overstepped his authority when he ordered the destruction of the documents. On May 8, Randa reissued his order, saying that the appeal was “frivolous” and at one point “the height of frivolousness.” The Circuit Court of Appeals responded by putting a stay on any destroying of documents.

On May 9, the Wisconsin State Journal disclosed that one of the judge’s assistants was married to a lawyer for the Walker campaign. Geoffrey Hazard, an expert on judicial ethics, stated that Randa wasn’t required to recuse himself from the case, “but it raises a question of prudence.”

Yesterday, the Center for Media and Democracy reported that Judge Randa attended privately-funded, all-expenses-paid judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 200620082010 and 2012The seminars basically are privately-funded all-expenses paid trips for judges, with conference sponsors picking up the costs of a judge’s flights, hotel rooms, and meals.

The Charles G. Koch Foundation gave $350,000 to George Mason University in 2006, $2.78 million in 2008 and $4.7 million in 2010. In 2012, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation gave $5.5 million to the school. The Kochs are the money behind Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the main targets of the investigation. I think I see a pattern here…

The conflicts of interest are stunning. First the assistant married to a Walker campaign lawyer, and now this. But, this is business as usual in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. This will be one worth watching…

 

 

 

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About ew

ew came of age during the winddown to the Vietnam War, and like many other Americans, as soon there wasn't an issue that didn't affect him personally, he became indifferent. This gradually changed during the Reagan and Bush I years, continued through the Clinton years and finally came to a head with the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. He works as a freelance consultant/tester for various music hardware and software companies, and lives in Minnesota with his cat and other weird and wonderful noise machines.

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