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Walker, on a local visit, comments on Doe

Governor Scott Walker speaks with an employee of Walsh Products during a tour of the production floor Thursday afternoon. Walker celebrated with the company as they commemorated their 100th anniversary.

Governor Scott Walker speaks with an employee of Walsh Products during a tour of the production floor Thursday afternoon. Walker celebrated with the company as they commemorated their 100th anniversary. Photo By Geoff Bruce

June 24, 2014

During a visit to congratulate Walsh Products on their 100-year anniversary, Governor Scott Walker also took the time to address the latest allegations in a John Doe investigation.

The governor took a tour of the production floor, meeting workers and getting acquainted with the harnesses and saddlery manufactured at the Brookfield business.

Afterward, the Governor addressed the sizable crowd that had come out for the celebration, commending Walsh on its continued success.

"More than 100 years is a true testament to a strong company," Walker said. "I met employees that have been here for more than 30 years. That's a good sign that a company treats its employees like family."

Walsh Products was founded in 1914 by John Walsh. The company grew to prominence by developing products such as its signature no-buckle harness.

After addressing the crowd, Walker mingled with those in attendance before speaking briefly on the allegations of prosecutors in ongoing John Doe investigations that Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012.

"Two independent sources, a state and a federal (judge) have said that they don't take the argument as valid," Walker said. "I'm not asking people to take my word for it. Look at the judges."

Prosecutors allege that two of Walker's top deputies, R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl, coordinated activities between Walker's campaign and other conservative groups in order to combat their opponents in the recall elections sparked by Act 10 in 2011.

Outside groups are permitted to collaborate on campaign activities, but their ability to work directly with candidates is limited, and they are generally not supposed to strategize with candidates.

The Wisconsin Club for Growth and director Eric O'Keefe have submitted a lawsuit to permanently halt the investigation. The group contends that the prohibition of the aforementioned type of collaboration does not apply to them and other groups because their advertisements did not go so far as to tell viewers how to vote.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa and Wisconsin Reserve Judge Gregory Peterson sided with those who want the investigations stopped.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit blocked Randa's ruling in early May, saying that prosecutors could not be ordered by Randa to return or destroy evidence that had been gathered during the investigation.

Prosecutors allege that documents released just last week show Walker to be at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate campaign spending during his recall elections. No charges have been filed related to the issue.

"I'm pretty confident," Walker said of the current state of the investigation.

Walker also addressed the latest private sector job creation numbers released Thursday, June 19, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers show that Wisconsin ranked 37th in private sector job growth last year, adding 28,141 jobs, for a growth rate of 1.2 percent.

"In the last three years we've created more jobs than in Jim Doyle's first term," Walker said.

The governor also took the opportunity to link Democratic opponent Mary Burke to Doyle.

"Mary Burke worked for Jim Doyle for three years. During those three years, they created about half (of the jobs) that we have," Walker said.

A Marquette Law School Poll found last month that the race between Walker and Burke has tightened significantly, with both receiving the support of 46 percent of registered voters while 6 percent say they are still undecided.

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