Newly released documents show prosecutors believe Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of a nationwide "criminal scheme" to illegally coordinate fundraising with outside conservative groups, reports The Associated Press.
According to AP, the documents were made public today in conjunction with a lawsuit filed by the corporate-right group Wisconsin Club for Growth. The Koch Industries-backed group is suing to halt an ongoing investigation into the governor’s campaign tactics during his recall race.
The documents reveal that prosecutors think that Walker, his chief of staff and others who worked for him discussed campaign coordination with a number of right-wing groups and political figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove.
Walker has indicated a willingness to settle the suit, but tea party funder David Koch and others want him to fight it out in court. They contend that it’s a free-speech issue.
The Associated Press story came today on top of more bad news for the Walker administration concerning the state’s economy.
After reviewing official state data, investigative reporter Mary Bottari concluded that the governor’s flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, has created only 5,840 jobs over a two-year period. According to Bottari, those jobs cost taxpayers $203 million in the form of grants, loans and bonding authority.
Bottari also found that for every two verifiable jobs created by WEDC, the state lost more than two due to plant closings and layoffs.
Walker eliminated the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and replaced it with WEDC, a private-public partnership that he pledged would help to create 250,000 jobs during his four years as governor. WEDC has been plagued with mismanagement crises, including the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars that have never been accounted for. Walker has been charged with appointing unqualified political cronies to manage the agency.
The state is on track to create fewer than half the jobs promised by Walker. Wisconsin now ranks last in the Midwest for job creation. The state has fallen from 11th nationally to 35th in terms of new jobs created since Walker took office in 2011.