Eric O’Keefe and Club for Growth John Doe Subpoena Targeted the Right-Wing Dark Money Network That Supported Scott Walker

Jun. 20, 2014
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Yesterday’s document dump included the subpoena sent to the Wisconsin Club for Growth’s Eric O’Keefe last September. The judge presiding over the John Doe at the time, Barbara Kluka, signed off on it. (It’s Exhibit F in the big document released yesterday, if you want to check it out on your own.) 

So what were prosecutors looking at?

A who’s who of right-wing operatives and the dark money groups they set up to conceal their activities.

Prosecutors wanted to see all contracts, etc., set up with:

  • R.J. Johnson and Associates: Johnson was working for both the Walker campaign and the Wisconsin Club for Growth and appears to be the link between all of the groups.
  • Citizens for a Strong America: This is the sham group operating out of a P.O. Box in Columbus, Wis., by Johnson and his business partner, Deb Jordahl.
  • Coalition Partners, LLC: This appears to be a business operation set up by Johnson and Jordahl.
  • Doner Fundraising Inc.: An Austin, Texas, fundraising group for conservative causes and candidates, including Scott Walker. According to prosecutors, it was raising funds for Walker and Wisconsin Club for Growth.
  • Deborah Jordahl: Johnson’s business partner and frequent guest on Charlie Sykes' Sunday show.
  • Kate Doner: Principal at Doner Fundraising.

Kluka also signed off on correspondence between Wisconsin Club for Growth /O’Keefe regarding all of the 2011 and 2012 recalls.

She also gave the green light to a request for all communications between Wisconsin Club for Growth/O’Keefe and:

  • Coalition Partners: Johnson and Jordahl’s entity.
  • R.J. Johnson and Associates: The ringleader, allegedly, helmed by Walker’s longtime political advisor and Wisconsin Club for Growth operative.
  • Citizens for a Strong America: Johnson and Jordahl’s sham group.
  • William Eisner & Associates: A Hales Corners-based ad agency favored by Walker.
  • Nonbox: The ad agency that Eisner and Associates morphed into about a decade ago.
  • Ten Capitol Inc. of Ashburn, Va.: Another ad agency.
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (MMAC): The state’s big business lobby that prosecutors allege was part of the "criminal scheme." It spent heavily in the recalls in support of the GOP agenda.
  • WMC-Issues Mobilization Council: The political arm of WMC.
  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC): Milwaukee’s chamber of commerce also spent heavily in support of Walker’s agenda in the 2011 and 2012 recalls.
  • American Federation for Children: The national group pushing for school vouchers. Its local leader is Scott Jensen, who’d been accused of much of the things Walker is alleged to have done but beat the rap.
  • Doner Fundraising: The Austin, Texas-based fundraiser for conservatives.
  • Americans for Prosperity: Koch’s Astroturf group that spent heavily in support of Walker and the GOP.
  • Club for Growth: The national group that apparently raised concerns about Johnson’s activities as far back as 2009, when Walker hired Johnson to help run his gubernatorial campaign.
  • Wisconsin Club for Growth: Naturally.
  • Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Koch’s Astroturf group that spent heavily and mobilized tea partiers in support of Walker.
  • American Crossroads: Karl Rove’s Super PAC. Walker bragged to Rove in an email that Johnson was coordinating the campaign activities in Wisconsin.
  • League of American Voters: Another Koch Astroturf group, helmed by Dick Morris.
  • Republican Governors Association (RGA): It dumped tons of money into the recalls on behalf of the GOP agenda.
  • Right Direction Wisconsin: The state arm of the RGA.
  • Republican State Leadership Committee: This entity funds conservative candidates across the country and launched REDMAP, a project that helped to draw GOP-friendly legislative districts across the country, including Wisconsin.
  • Committee to Elect a Republican Senate: The Wisconsin-based campaign committee supporting GOP candidates.
  • Wisconsin Family Action: The geniuses behind the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
  • Wisconsin Right to Life: The statewide anti-abortion group.
  • Wisconsin Recall Action Fund: The Milwaukee-based group spent an estimated $1.42 million on the recalls, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
  • The Jobs First Coalition: Another independent dark-money group, this one tied to Scott Jensen and other Milwaukee operatives, that spent heavily in the recalls.
  • Ending Spending Inc.: Another national conservative group.
  • Friends of Scott Walker: Walker’s campaign committee.
  • Republican Party of Wisconsin: Another no-brainer.
  • United Sportsmen of Wisconsin: Another sham group involved in the recalls. It sent out phony absentee ballot mailers during the 2011 recalls.

It looks like prosecutors were not only looking at how these groups coordinated, but, in trying to get at information from the ad agencies, they were looking at who was signing the checks for the recall ads, as well as whose checking account was the source of the funds.

That said, just two or so months later, the next judge to preside over the case, Gregory Peterson, quashed the subpoenas sent to Wisconsin Club for Growth and other groups, including Walker's campaign committee.

I’ll have much more on this in the coming days. Stay tuned.



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