New Walker campaign funding details could impact governor’s race

Prosecutors believe Walker acted criminally, coordinating fundraising with outside conservative groups

New information released Thursday in the investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign financing leads prosecutors to believe Walker knew about the illegal fundraising taking place during his 2012 recall election with outside conservative groups.

With the governor’s seat up for election this year, the new information could impact the race for governor.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim said anything negative can impact an election, but added he doesn’t believe the news will have too much of an impact unless the election is close.

Heim said the new information of Walker’s involvement in an illegal fundraising scheme isn’t necessarily big news.

“It’s only new because, I’ll say two things, one because the governor is directly involved in it. In the past that was never clear. And two some of the quotes are very clearly potentially incriminating,” he said.

Heim said about 45 percent of Wisconsin voters are for Walker and 45 percent are against, leaving 10percent undecided. Heim believes those undecided voters are the only people who might view the new information as a negative toward Walker.

“Negative news to the degree that it is negative is not good for the governor, he would like to maybe get this behind him and move on to the election. Unfortunately for him this in court and will continue for some time,” Heim said.

Local Republican leaders say they don’t feel the controversy will have any impact. They believe because the investigation has gone on for so long it is now politically motivated by the Burke campaign.

“I think these allegations show the desperation of the Burke campaign. Mary Burke needs to stick to the issues and not sling mud,” La Crosse County Republican Party Chairman Bill Feehan said.

Local Democrats on the other hand feel Walker needs to take responsibility for his actions.

“When we wake up and see Gov. Walker being involved in some criminal scheme or the possibility, if there’s personal involvement here and he’s culpable he needs to come out and say to people, clearly explain what happened here,” La Crosse County Democratic Party Chairperson Vicki Burke said.

No charges have been filed in the Walker investigation.

The investigation is receiving national attention. Heim said it’s only getting coverage because of Walker’s potential run at the 2016 presidential election.

Both Democrats and Republicans in our area kick off their door-to-door campaigns Saturday.