by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director
October 4, 2016
Within hours of the US Supreme Court deciding not to hear an appeal of the John Doe II decision, the folks that got let off the hook came out with sickeningly sanctimonious statements.
“I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them,” Walker said.
Note: Prosecutors weren’t trying to silence them. They just wanted to enforce the law requiring candidates not to coordinate with outside groups. The outside groups could have talked all they wanted—just not under the direction of, and with the funds raised by, Scott Walker.
R. J. Johnson, Walker’s strategist who was also running Wisconsin Club for Growth, played the martyr. He said that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm “decided to zero in on me. . . . He saw an opportunity to destroy Governor Walker and the Field Marshals of the conservative movement.”
Note: There was good reason to “zero in on” Johnson, since he was at the heart of the elaborate fundraising scheme and advertising scheme. By the way, “Field Marshal” is an odd and creepy phrase to use to refer to himself.
Kurt Bauer, the CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, opined: “Businesses need to have the right to stand up to the government to tell the people about how taxes and regulations affect the daily lives of our citizens. WMC has taken a strong stand on free speech rights for our members and all businesses and will continue to exercise our free speech rights without government harassment in the future.”
Note, first of all: WMC could have run all the ads it wanted, so long as it wasn’t coordinating with Walker and getting money funneled from Walker and Club for Growth. Second, corporations don’t deserve to have the same “free speech rights” as persons. That’s why we need to amend the Constitution to state unequivocally that corporations aren’t persons, and money isn’t speech. Third, we, the People, have the right to impose common-sense limits on donations and to require disclosure of electioneering funding. WMC can call that “harassment”; I call that democratic self-government, where everyone’s voice is heard and everyone has an equal say.