I had to ask my guest on today's BradCast whether I was being overly dramatic in seeing today's stunning news from the Wisconsin Supreme Court as "the death of democracy". He did not warn me off that thinking.
Before that, however, we quickly covered two other breaking stories today: The verdict in the Aurora, CO shooting case and another new shooting today at two U.S. Marine facilities in Chattanooga, TN --- along with some thoughts on both of them.
Then, it's onto the jaw-dropping WI Supreme Court verdict in the challenge to the prosecutorial investigation into blatant collusion between Gov. Scott Walker and a number of Rightwing groups which spent millions in an alleged "criminal scheme" to help Walker win his 2012 recall election.
Brendan Fischer, general counsel at the Center for Media and Democracy joins us to explain the outrageous ruling. It's disturbing on several levels and bodes ominously for campaign finance laws across the entire nation. It's a must-hear interview, frankly.
In short, Walker and his campaign colluded with those "outside" groups in violation of state campaign finance law and what the U.S. Supreme Court said, in Citizens United, was not supposed to happen. But, it did --- to the tune of millions of dollars to help get Walker elected. Amazingly, it was the Rightwing groups that went to court in this matter to claim that their rights were being abridged by the prosecutors' investigation (a Republican prosecutor, by the way). We explain, in detail, how they made that case and how the Court's Justices went along with them to shut down the so-called "John Doe II" investigation.
But, the most outrageous part is the fact that the very same groups who sued to quash the probe also funded the elections (to the tunes of millions of dollars) of the very same Rightwing WI Supreme Court Justices who found in their favor today. That, despite both the prosecutor's request that those Justice's recuse themselves and a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Caperton v. Massey) finding that judges must recuse if the case they are hearing involves a party with a "significant and disproportionate influence" on their elections.
"This is not just about past conduct, this is about future conduct, as well," Fischer tells me. "The court has okayed outside coordination between outside groups and candidates. It applies to their own campaigns, it applies to elections for judges....And the exact same groups that were parties to this case are going to be able to coordinate directly with these justices when they are up for re-election."
And, as if all of that isn't outrageous enough, this case, as I've long warned, is part of a national effort to eviscerate similar campaign finance restrictions across the entire nation --- because Citizens United and McCutcheon etc. apparently isn't yet enough for these Republicans.
"There's really not a whole lot left," Fischer says. "And you can see this being a huge mile-marker in the continued erosion on limits of money in politics. And it's not going to turn out well." Oh, well. I did try to warn everyone at least a year ago that this case was "about much more than just Walker and his corruption."
There's much more. But, as I said, a must-hear conversation today.
Download MP3 or listen online below...
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