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U.S. Supreme Court Ends Scott Walker Investigation

Governor Scott Walker

The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3 officially put an end to any possibility that Wisconsin could reopen an investigation into criminal campaign finance allegations against Gov. Walker.

The court let stand a 2015 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that shut down an investigation into allegations that Walker had illegally coordinated campaign spending with outside groups during the 2012 recall campaign against him. The state Supreme Court stopped the investigation into the alleged violations after several conservative elected judges refused to recuse themselves from the proceedings, despite having benefited from outside election spending by many of the same groups that were accused of illegal coordination with Walker’s campaign. Prosecutors even suspected one of those judges of having committed the same illegal campaign finance violations that Walker was accused of.

The prosecutors appealed the state court’s decision, arguing that those judges should have recused themselves. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the state court’s ruling. Because the high court has just eight members following the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia, it’s possible that the court deadlocked on a 4-4 vote, allowing the lower-court ruling to stand. The court did not specify the vote tally in its decision or release any explanation of its ruling. Documents leaked last month to the Guardian gave credence to the allegations against Walker by showing him soliciting large corporate checks from conservative billionaire donors. While the Supreme Court has now prevented state prosecutors from reopening the old investigation into Walker’s campaign, state legislators have called on them to launch a new investigation based on the information in the leaked documents. So it’s possible the Supreme Court decision may offer Walker only a temporary victory.

Walker said in a prepared statement, “I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them.” The district attorneys in Milwaukee (John Chisholm), Dane (Ismael Ozanne) and Iowa (Larry Nelson) counties released a joint statement, saying, “We are proud to have taken this fight as far as the law would allow and we look forward to the day when Wisconsin adopts a more enlightened view of the need for transparency in campaign finance.”

Source: Various news sources

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) have introduced the Senate companion legislation of H.R. 4298, the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Memorial Act, which would direct the Secretary of the Army to approve a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery honoring the nearly 5,000 helicopter pilots and crewmembers killed during the Vietnam War. The legislation was first introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV). “Brave and courageous Vietnam war pilots made incredible sacrifices and this bipartisan effort offers respect for their selfless service,” Baldwin said. “Our Vietnam veterans and their families have earned this recognition and they deserve to be properly honored at Arlington National Cemetery.” The memorial proposal was submitted by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA). The VHPA has agreed to fund the construction and installation costs for the memorial.

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

A bill to provide terminally ill patients a chance to try to save their lives was blocked by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act in May 2016. The bill ensures that terminally ill patients, their doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to try investigational treatments when no alternatives exist. “It is beyond disappointing that Senator Reid would ignore the pleas of those with terminal illnesses to score a political point,” said Johnson.

Source: Johnson press release

President Barack Obama

The path that brought the Republican Party to nominating Donald Trump as its candidate for the White House began in 2008 when Sarah Palin joined John McCain’s GOP ticket, President Barack Obama said in an interview published Oct. 3.

“I see a straight line from the announcement of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee to what we see today in Donald Trump, the emergence of the Freedom Caucus, the tea party, and the shift in the center of gravity for the Republican Party,” the president told New York Magazine. “Whether that changes, I think, will depend in part on the outcome of this election, but it’s also going to depend on the degree of self-reflection inside the Republican Party. There have been at least a couple of other times that I’ve said confidently that the fever is going to have to break, but it just seems to get worse.”

Source: nymag.com

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