Walker’s Latest Campaign Is a Scandal Reunion

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

October 31, 2017

Scott Walker on Motorcycle in 2018 Campaign Ad

When Scott Walker announced his reelection campaign team today, it was like an invitation to a reunion for some of the players in the John Doe II Scandal.

That scandal involved allegations that the Walker team was illegally coordinating with Wisconsin Club for Growth to raise money to fend off the recalls of Republican state senators and of Walker himself. (The Wisconsin Supreme Court eventually threw out the John Doe II prosecution in a corrupt and baseless decision in July 2015.)

Some familiar faces from that scandal are back on Team Walker.

Keith Gilkes, who will serve as “general consultant.” He’s played a key role in all of Walker’s races for governor, and served as Walker’s chief of staff early on. He is now a lobbyist for Foxconn.

R. J. Johnson, who will serve as “senior strategic advisor,” which he has done in Walker’s previous races for governor. Johnson was working both for Walker and for Wisconsin Club for Growth in the period of the John Doe II Scandal.

In the emails released by the Guardian in the John Doe II case, Gilkes and Johnson made several joint appearances.

In one email, Walker asks Gilkes and Johnson, "Did I send out thank you notes to all of our c(4) donors?"

In another email from Kate Doner, who was raising money for Walker, to Gilkes and Johnson and Walker, she spells out the fundraising plan: “Take Koch's money -Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson. Ask for $1m now. -Corporations. Go heavy after them to give. -Create new c4. Club for Growth name has issues."

Another email has Gilkes prepping Walker for an upcoming donor call: “Our efforts were run by Wisconsin Club for Growth and operatives R.J. Johnson and Deb Jordahl, who coordinated spending through 12 different groups. Most spending by other groups was directly funded by grants from the club.”

Jon Hammes, founder and managing partner of the Hammes Company, will serve as Walker’s finance chairman. The Hammes Company wrote a $25,000 check to Wisconsin Club for Growth on Walker’s urging, a fact that came out in the emails released by the Guardian.

Michael Grebe, the former head of the Bradley Foundation who ran Walker’s 2014 campaign, will serve as “campaign chairman.” While Grebe headed up the Bradley Foundation, it spent millions of dollars funding groups in Wisconsin that tried to discredit the John Doe II investigation, as the Center for Media and Democracy has documented.

WDC Executive Director Matthew Rothschild
Matthew Rothschild
WDC Executive Director

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