A bad day for Republicans just got worse. First, prosecutors in Wisconsin accused Republican Governor Scott Walker of running a criminal enterprise, while in New Jersey federal prosecutors are closing in on Republican Governor Chris Christie.
According to Esquire:
Whatever Christie says or does — and whatever potential donors or Jimmy Fallon and his viewers think — the question that truly matters is whether Fishman’s pursuit leads to the governor himself. Christie’s Port appointees — not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein — all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.
Wildstein, portrayed as the mastermind behind Ft. Lee’s traffic problems, has made proffers to Fishman’s investigators — hoping to trade information to the prosecutor in exchange for gentler legal treatment — but Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing. “Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie,” says one source. “And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn’t give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.”
The Christie and Walker investigations have followed the same textbook format. Prosecutors in both Wisconsin and New Jersey are systematically picking off the aides and others with knowledge surrounding the Republican governors in order to get to the big fish. Rumors and stories about abuse of power and corruption has been swirling about Walker and Christie for years, so it isn’t a shock that both have prosecutors hot on their tails.
Less than a year ago, the Republican Party was touting Rick Snyder (R-MI), John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Chris Christie (R-NJ), and Tom Corbett (R-PA) as the future of the Republican Party. Corbett looks like a dead man walking. Scott is fighting to hang on to his seat while Christie and Walker may be lucky to avoid prison. The only two governors left standing out of the next “Republican wave” are Kasich, who changed his tone after a humiliating public defeat on a union busting bill, and Snyder.
The thing that both Walker and Christie have in common is that they are Koch boys. It is no secret that they both belong to the right-wing billionaires. There have always been corrupt politicians, but it is fair to ask what if any role the unregulated campaign contributions that were unleashed by the Citizens United ruling are playing in this wave of scandal?
Thanks to unlimited contributions from the Koch brothers and other billionaires, there is no party structure to keep governors like Christie and Walker in check. Elected Republicans are able to raise their own funds and build their own empires. They have built their own kingdoms, so it isn’t surprising when they act like the law doesn’t apply to them. Walker is accused of running a criminal scheme that violated campaign finance laws, while questions have been raised about Bridgegate and Christie’s handling of Sandy relief funds.
Both Scott Walker and Chris Christie are more likely to find themselves in the big house than the White House after 2016.