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‘Brazen’: WI GOP tried to retroactively legalize campaign abuses after Scott Walker scandal

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Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin quietly tried to slip through a bill that was “designed” to decriminalize campaign abuses after prosecutors began investigating Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) associates over illegal issue ads during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, a report suggested this week.

For several years, prosecutors have been investigating the possibility that Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups, like the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. In October of 2013, the so-called John Doe investigation executed search warrants on two of Walker’s top associates, and subpoenaed the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth.

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The Center for Media and Democracy revealed on Tuesday that just weeks after those search warrants were executed, Senators Mary Lazich (R) and Zach Bemis (R) began working on a bill that “would have had the effect of legalizing the issue ad coordination under investigation.”

When Republicans in the state Senate tried — and failed — to push through Senate Bill 654 in March of 2014, most experts thought it was simply an effort to limit disclosures in political campaigns. No mention was made of the Walker scandal, but the manner in which the bill was fast-tracked for a vote was puzzling.

“Forget, for a moment, the troubling provisions in these bills,” the Wisconsin State Journal wrote at the time. “What’s most offensive is their late unveiling and speedy hearings that are designed to dodge public scrutiny.”

Lazich and Bemis also failed to disclose that three groups that were registered to lobby for SB 654 had been linked to the Walker scandal.

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Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck told the Center for Media and Democracy that it seemed “inconceivable” at the time that Republicans would try to change the law to influence an ongoing investigation.

“I’m just in disbelief at how brazen this is,” he said.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

He also crushed the president for failing to make any progress on reopening the Chinese market to American goods.

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Doctors treat Ruth Bader Ginsburg for tumor on her pancreas: SCOTUS spokesperson

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week had underwent a procedure to treat a tumor from her pancreas, a court spokesperson tells Washington Post reporter Robert Barnes.

According to the Court, "the tumor was treated definitively" with radiation "and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body."

The 86-year-old Ginsburg late last year underwent surgery to treat lung cancer and she returned to the bench this past February.

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REVEALED: Trump associate Felix Sater gave Osama bin Laden’s phone numbers to the feds

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The Russian businessman Felix Sater has been linked to Trump family enterprises for years. He was central to the effort to bring Trump Tower to Moscow. He also worked on the Trump SoHo condominium hotel in the mid-aughts.

During that time, Sater also worked as an informant for the FBI and CIA and aided prosecutors on various cases. He started working with the FBI in 1998, after he was caught in a stock-fraud scheme, reports the Wall Street Journal.

That's been previously reported. But what the WSJ found is that a letter just unsealed from the government praises Sater for being an especially good collaborator.

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