>Scott Walker, an ardent Ronald Reagan fan from his youth, was never likely to follow Reagan's footsteps to the White House. The Wisconsin governor lacks his hero's way with words, skill for crossing lines of partisan and ideogical division (especially within the Republican Party) and confidence on the national campaign trail.
He jetted off to Las Vegas to to try and impress Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, but Adelson missed the Wisconsinite's speech. He even persisted in making the rounds nationally after polls showed that his enthusiasm for presidential politics did not sit well with the Wisconsin voters he must face in a November re-election bid.
The headlines in Wisconsin Thursday were damning: "John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of 'criminal scheme'" and "Prosecutors accuse Walker of running 'criminal scheme'"
And the national headlines were just as rough. "Prosecutors: Scott Walker part of 'criminal scheme," read the headline of a Politico story that opened with a breathless report that...
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker participated in a 'criminal scheme' to coordinate fundraising for the Republican in response to efforts to recall him and state senators from office, local prosecutors argue in court documents released Thursday.
"Walker, his chief of staff and others were involved in the coordination effort with 'a number of national groups and prominent figures,' including Karl Rove, says special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.
"'[T]he evidence shows an extensive coordination scheme that pervaded nearly every aspect of the campaign activities during the historic 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin Senate and Gubernatorial recall elections,' Schmitz wrote in a December motion, on behalf of five attorneys from some of the state's most liberal counties, just now unsealed by an appellate court judge.
"Even worse for a governor who has already had to try an[d] explain away highly controversial emails from former aides, as well as the investigations, prosecutions and convictions of aides, appointees, allies and campaign donors, are the actual details of the documents that were ordered unsealed by Federal Appeals Judge Frank Easterbrook."
"The documents include an excerpt from an email in which Walker tells Karl Rove, former top adviser to President George W. Bush, that (veteran Wisconsin Republican operative R.J.) Johnson would lead the coordination campaign. Johnson is also Walker's longtime campaign strategist and the chief adviser to Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative group active in the recall elections," reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state's largest paper.
The May 4, 2011, e-mail to Rove read: "Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities)."
Walker, who is certainly no stranger to controversy, claimed Thursday that he had been vindicated by judges who have restricted -- and even attempted to shut down -- the "John Doe" investigation into political wrongdoing. But other judges have sustained the inquiry.
Walker allies argue that he is the victim of a "witch hunt" organized by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and other top prosecutors, who they allege are out to silence conservatives and harm Republicans. Chisholm is a Democrat, but he is also a respected prosecutor who has gone after Democrats and worked with Republicans.