Criminal Scheme

In this update: 1. Unsealed John Doe records reveal allegations of "criminal scheme" 2. What outside money does 3. This week’s mailing from the Koch brothers 4. Kickstarting citizen activism Criminal Scheme

Email date: 6/20/14

In this update:
1. Unsealed John Doe records reveal allegations of “criminal scheme”
2. What outside money does
3. This week’s mailing from the Koch brothers
4. Kickstarting citizen activism

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Unsealed John Doe records reveal allegations of “criminal scheme”
Governor Scott Walker stands accused of overseeing a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate election campaign activity in 2011 and 2012, according to previously secret documents that were opened to public inspection by court order. Prosecutors in the multi-county investigation have not yet made decisions regarding criminal charges.

Key figures in the case include Walker adviser R.J. Johnson, who also serves as a consultant to the right-wing group Club for Growth, as well as Eric O’Keefe, who runs the group’s operations in Wisconsin. And lurking in the background is the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, which has funded an elaborate web of groups now caught up in the John Doe probe.

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What outside money does
This week’s Democracy Campaign report on out-of-district contributions to Wisconsin legislators was the subject of newspaper and radio coverage across the state. Lawmakers’ heavy reliance on money from people who cannot vote for them divides their loyalties and often forces them to choose between the competing interests of voters they are elected to represent and farflung cash constituents they depend on to fund their election campaigns. As a new Ohio State University study shows, outside money also plays a major role in polarizing politics.

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This week’s mailing from the Koch brothers
Another week, another statewide mailing by the billionaire Koch brothers’ tax-exempt group Americans for Prosperity Foundation supporting Governor Walker. Estimates of how much the political network of Koch-funded groups will spend this year range from $125 million to $300 million or more. They already are well into seven figures in Wisconsin alone.

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Kickstarting citizen activism
The makers of the documentary film Citizen Koch tweeted support this week for the Kickstarter campaign seeking crowdfunding for Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe’s upcoming book, Blue Jeans in High Places. After the first four days, the campaign was nearly two-thirds of the way to its goal. The average pledge has been about $60. About 200 much smaller pledges of $10 would enable the goal to be met. You can help by pledging your support and also by sharing the campaign page with friends and neighbors and urging them to pledge too.

Mike’s book is a cookbook of sorts, full of recipes for empowering citizens and revitalizing democracy. He is not the only one who is noticing that citizen activism is poised for a comeback.