The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
A prosecutor cautioned Thursday that he hasn't made a final determination about whether Gov. Scott Walker and his campaign illegally coordinated fundraising among conservative groups during the recall elections during 2011 and 2012.
In a statement Thursday, an attorney representing special prosecutor Francis Schmitz warned the media and public against jumping to conclusions of guilt based on documents within a once-secret probe that emerged in a federal lawsuit last week.
Those documents written by prosecutors laid out what they call an extensive "criminal scheme" to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top Republican political operatives — R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl. So far, no one has been charged and the probe has been halted for now by a federal judge.
Walker has denied any wrongdoing.
"While these documents outlined the prosecutor's legal theory, they did not establish the existence of a crime; rather, they were arguments in support of further investigation to determine if criminal charges against any person or entity are warranted," Schmitz attorney Randall Crocker wrote in the statement. "Mr. Schmitz has made no conclusions as to whether there is sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime. It is wrong for any person to point to this sentence in a legal argument as a finding by the special prosecutor that Governor Walker has engaged in a criminal scheme. It is not such a finding."
To recap: No charges were ever filed against Walker or conservative organizations. The investigation had not yet concluded when judges ruled that the investigation must be halted because it lacked merit. "The theory of 'coordination' forming the basis of the investigation, including the basis of probable cause for home raids, is not supported under Wisconsin law and, if it were, would violate the United States Constitution," federal judge Rudolph Randa ruled in May (the ruling is being appealed). And now the prosecutor himself is telling the media that Walker was not the target of the investigation.
"At the time the investigation was halted, Governor Walker was not a target of the investigation. At no time has he been served with a subpoena," the attorney representing the special prosecutor said Thursday.
Tom Evenson, spokesman for Scott Walker's campaign, responded to the prosecutor's statement by blasting out the media's "slanderous reporting" that Walker had engaged in a "criminal scheme" (emphasis in original):
After the media's slanderous reporting last week, today’s statement by prosecutors should serve as an opportunity for the media to correct the record and report the real facts of this story.
Two judges have ruled there is no case. Now prosecutors have stated clearly that not only was Governor Walker not a target of the investigation but that:
"It is wrong for any person to point to this sentence in a legal argument as a finding by the Special Prosecutor that Governor Walker has engaged in a criminal scheme. lt is not such a finding."
Governor Walker’s opponent is now using the using the inaccuracies reported by the media to attack him in TV ads.
I hope your respective news rooms show their commitment to the truth by reporting in detail the facts of this story as laid out in the new statements by the prosecutors.