Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

The nonpartisan (stop laughing!) inhabitants of the Pope Civitas Institute are having an interesting event next week. The group is hosting the Governor of Wisconsin and all-but-declared Presidential candidate Scott Walker for a fundraising lunch. You can be a “co-host” of the event for just five grand.

Setting aside the red flags raised by a nonpartisan nonprofit holding such a transparently political event, the question arises: Why Walker and not one of the other hard right candidates?

The answer to this question may be found in this post that appeared on Think Progress last month entitled “Why the Koch Brothers Want Scott Walker to be President.”

“Walker has enjoyed the Kochs’ enthusiastic support for much of his political career. Koch Industries was one of the largest contributors to Walker’s first gubernatorial campaign, giving him $43,000, his largest out-of-state contribution. And Walker’s 2014 reelection campaign was one of the top recipients of Koch Industries cash. Tim Phillips, president of Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, has also heaped praise on Walker. ‘The difference Scott Walker has made with his policy achievements is as transformative as any governor anywhere in a generation,’ Phillips said in an interview.”

Of course, in fairness, Walker has yet to formally announce his candidacy. The Governor has told various media outlets that he’s too busy right now given the demands of his position as Governor and the need to finish work on his state’s 2016 budget… a task that he is apparently pursuing by traveling to North Carolina to hobnob with deep-pocketed conservatives a thousand miles from home in the middle of a weekday afternoon.


In a decision released today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying that it disproportionately impacted poor and minority voters, and blocked the state from requiring ID at the polls.

In Frank v. Walker, Adelman wrote:

Act 23 has a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino voters because it is more likely to burden those voters with the costs of obtaining a photo ID that they would not otherwise obtain. This burden is significant not only because it is likely to deter Blacks and Latinos from voting even if they could obtain IDs without much difficulty, but also because Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to have difficulty obtaining IDs. This disproportionate impact is a “discriminatory result” because the reason Black and Latino voters are more likely to have to incur the costs of obtaining IDs is that they are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, and the reason Black and Latino voters are disproportionately likely to live in poverty is connected to the history of discrimination against Blacks and Latinos in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Finally, Act 23 only tenuously serves the state’s interest in preventing voter fraud and protecting the integrity of the electoral process, and therefore the state’s interests do not justify the discriminatory result. Accordingly, the photo ID requirement results in the denial or abridgment of the right of Black and Latino citizens to vote on account of race or color.

Read the full decision here.