Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election
Results by county
|Elections in Wisconsin|
The 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial election were recall elections to elect the governor and lieutenant governor of Wisconsin. It resulted in voters re-electing incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker over the Democratic candidate Tom Barrett by a larger margin than he had in 2010, in which Walker had also faced Barrett. Recall organizers opposed Walker's agenda, particularly his limiting of collective bargaining privileges for state employees and they collected over 900,000 signatures to initiate the recall election process. There was also a recall for Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. She won her race, defeating Democrat Mahlon Mitchell, making her the first lieutenant governor to run in and survive a recall.
The Democratic primaries took place on May 8. The recall elections were held June 5 with Walker defeating Barrett. Walker was thus the first U.S. governor to continue in office after facing a recall election.
Four state senate recall elections took place the same day as the gubernatorial recall elections, resulting in two wins by Republican incumbents, one open seat win by a Republican, and one win by a Democratic challenger, giving Democrats control of the state Senate.
The recall election was just the third gubernatorial recall election in U.S. history and the only one in which the incumbent was not defeated. The other governors who were subject to a recall election were Lynn Frazier of North Dakota (1921) and Gray Davis of California (2003).
Voter turnout in the election was 57.8 percent, the highest for a gubernatorial election not on a presidential ballot in Wisconsin history. The election was widely covered on national television.
- 1 Background
- 2 Controversy over recall petitions signed by Wisconsin judges and journalists
- 3 Costs & spending
- 4 Republican primary
- 5 Democratic primary
- 6 Candidates
- 7 Campaign
- 8 Debates
- 9 Opinion polls
- 10 Results
- 11 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, 2014
- 12 Investigation of alleged illegal campaign coordination
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Pre-certification recall campaign
Incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker faced a recall effort beginning in November 2011. After the contentious collective bargaining dispute, Walker's disapproval ratings varied between 50 and 51% while his approval ratings varied between 47% and 49% in 2011.
Wisconsin law made Walker ineligible for recall until at least January 3, 2012, one year after he first took office, and the Wisconsin Democratic Party called it a "priority" to remove him from office. In the first half of 2011, Walker raised more than $2,500,000 from supporters. Walker raised $5.1 million in the second half of 2011 to battle his recall. The effort to recall Walker officially began on November 15, 2011. The recall effort unofficially started as soon as the election results showed the Democrats lost.
In less than half of the allotted time (60 days) to collect signatures, recall organizers report collecting more than 500,000 signatures, leaving roughly one month left to collect the remaining 40,000 signatures needed to force a recall vote. On January 17, 2012, United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the recall effort, along with the Democratic Party, said that one million signatures were collected, which far exceeded the 540,208 needed, and amounted to 23 percent of the state's eligible voters, 46 percent of the total votes cast in the 2010 gubernatorial election and just shy of the 1.1 million votes earned by Walker.
On January 25, 2012, a poll released by the Marquette University Law School predicted that Walker would win a recall election against potential candidates Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk, David Obey or Tim Cullen. This compared to a poll released by Public Policy Polling in October 2011 that also predicted Walker would win a recall election against Barrett, Falk, Peter Barca, Steve Kagen or Ron Kind. The poll also showed that more people opposed (49%) than supported (48%) the recall effort.
In February 2012, Walker's campaign made an additional request for more time for the petition signatures to be verified, stating that between 10–20% of the signatures reviewed to that point should not be counted. Democrats argued that even if 20% of the signatures were not counted there were still 300,000 more than the required number needed to initiate the recall. Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski argued Walker was just "delaying the inevitable." Additionally, in the period while signatures were being verified Barrett and Walker were able to collect unlimited campaign donations because normal campaign fundraising limits do not apply until an election is ordered. On February 17, 2012, Dane County judge Richard Niess, who also signed the petition, denied Walker's request for additional time.
In March Milwaukee city officials asked Milwaukee Public Schools to contribute nearly $10 million more to the pension plan because of financial market downturns. The teachers' union, school board and the superintendent asked the Legislature for the opportunity to negotiate to reduce costs. Milwaukee schools didn't take part in a 90-day window that had since closed, which allowed unions and municipal employees to make contract adjustments. The Assembly and Senate agreed to allow Milwaukee schools to reopen negotiations for compensation or fringe-benefit concessions without nullifying existing union contracts. The measure giving them 90 days passed the Assembly and Senate. Governor Scott Walker supported the measure. Other teachers' unions asked Milwaukee to withdraw its request, saying it would give Walker a political advantage in the recall election.
On March 29, 2012, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board released its final signature counts for the Walker recall petition. The GAB reported that 931,053 signatures were officially turned in, although the proponents had stated that approximately one million signatures were collected. Of that number, 26,114 were struck by GAB staff for various reasons and an additional 4,001 duplicates were struck. The final total certified by the GAB was 900,938 signatures.
Controversy over recall petitions signed by Wisconsin judges and journalists
Twenty-nine circuit court judges in Wisconsin signed recall petitions against Gov. Walker, according to a Gannett Wisconsin Media analysis. Among the signers was Dane County Judge David Flanagan, who was scrutinized after issuing a temporary restraining order March 6 against a Walker-backed voter ID law without disclosing his support of the recall. None of the state's sixteen appeals court judges or seven Supreme Court justices signed the recall petition. The state Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion in 2001 saying judges are allowed to sign nominating petitions, as long as the petition language only supports putting the candidate on the ballot and does not imply an endorsement. The Landmark Legal Foundation requested an investigation to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission regarding allegations of misconduct by the judges in question.
It was later learned that 25 journalists at Gannett had also signed the recall petition. The newspaper group revealed the signatures in the interest of being as open as possible. Genia Lovett, representative for the organization, stated that journalists have a right to hold opinions, but must protect the credibility of their respective news organizations.
Other media organizations had staff who signed the recall petition. Rob Starbuck, the morning news anchor for Madison, Wisconsin television station WISC-TV, signed the Walker recall petition. The station stated that the signing was in violation of the station's policy for newsroom employees. Television stations WISN, WTMJ, WITI, WDJT and radio station WTMJ in Milwaukee discovered that some staff members signed petitions to recall Walker. Some employees at WTMJ claimed signing the recall petition was not a political act, but rather, similar to casting a vote. WTMJ stated it did not agree and indicated they would take measures to make sure their reporting was fair and balanced, and to ensure no future similar controversies. The WITI television journalist who had signed the petition was reassigned and prohibited from covering Walker-related stories. 
The cost of the recall election had also drawn criticism. An estimate provided by the state Government Accountability Board showed a cost of $9 million for a statewide election. Since a primary election was also conducted for this race, Representative Robin Vos estimated the cost would be double, around $18 million.
Costs & spending
The recall elections were the most expensive elections in Wisconsin history. According to the advocacy group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, candidates and outside groups spent more than $80 million in the governor's recall race. This compares to $37.4 million spent on the 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial election.
According to USA Today, "More than $62 million was spent by the candidates and outside groups. Much of the $30 million raised by Walker came from outside the state. Barrett ... spent about $4 million; most of his donors live in Wisconsin." Barrett also benefited from spending by labor unions throughout the recall, estimated at another $20 million. Kathleen Falk, who was defeated by Barrett in the Democratic primary raised about $5.2 million from public-sector unions inside and outside the state. The cost of the recall elections for the governor and lieutenant governor to Wisconsin taxpayers was $18 million.
- Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, former U.S. Representative, and nominee for Governor in 2010
- Kathleen Falk, former Dane County Executive
- Gladys Huber, activist
- Douglas La Follette, Wisconsin Secretary of State
- Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator
- Peter W. Barca, State Assembly Minority Leader
- Tim Cullen, State Senator
- Jon Erpenbach, State Senator
- Russ Feingold, former U.S. Senator
- Ron Kind, U.S. Representative
- David Obey, former U.S. Representative
|Marquette University||April 26–29, 2012||451||± 4%||48%||21%||8%||6%||19%|
|Public Policy Polling||April 13–15, 2012||810||± 3.4%||38%||24%||9%||6%||22%|
|Marquette University||March 22–25, 2012||373||± 5.1%||—||54%||15%||12%||19%|
|Public Policy Polling||February 23–26, 2012||425||45%||18%||14%||6%||17%|
|Democratic||Douglas La Follette||19,461||2.90|
- Scott Walker (Republican), incumbent Governor
- Tom Barrett (Democratic), Mayor of Milwaukee
- Nathan Graewin (Libertarian)
- Hariprasad Trivedi (Independent)
- Steven Zelinski (Write-in)
In April the Milwaukee Police Association and Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association unions endorsed Governor Walker in the recall election. After Barrett won the Democratic primary, Walker stated, "As Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett enters the general election in his soon to be third statewide losing campaign, he will surely find that his record of raising taxes and promises to continue to do so will not resonate with voters." After his primary victory Barrett said, "We cannot fix Wisconsin with Walker as governor, this election is not about fighting past battles, it is about moving forward together to create jobs and get our economy moving again."
- May 25: Sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
- May 31: Sponsored by WISN-TV, Wispolitics, Marquette University Law School, and hosted by Mike Gousha at Marquette University
|We Ask America||June 3, 2012||1,570 LV||± 2.5%||54%||42%||—||4%|
|Public Policy Polling||June 2–3, 2012||1,226 LV||± 2.8%||50%||47%||—||3%|
|Angus Reid Public Opinion||May 30 – June 2, 2012||507 DV||± 4.4%||53%||47%||—||—|
|Marquette University||May 23–26, 2012||600 LV||± 4.1%||52%||45%||—||3%|
|We Ask America||May 23, 2012||1,409 LV||± 2.61%||54%||42%||—||4%|
|St. Norbert College||May 17–22, 2012||406 LV||± 5%||50%||45%||—||5%|
|Reason-Rupe||May 14–18, 2012||609 LV||± 4%||50%||42%||—||6%|
|We Ask America||May 13, 2012||1,219 LV||± 2.81%||52%||43%||—||5%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 11–13, 2012||833 LV||± 3.4%||50%||45%||2%||3%|
|Marquette University||May 9–12, 2012||600 LV||± 4.1%||50%||44%||—||3%|
|Rasmussen Reports||May 9, 2012||500 LV||± 4.5%||50%||45%||2%||2%|
|Marquette University||April 26–29, 2012||705 RV||± 4%||46%||47%||3%||4%|
|Public Policy Polling||April 13–15, 2012||1,136||± 2.9%||50%||45%||2%||3%|
|Marquette University||March 22–25, 2012||707||± 3.7%||47%||45%||3%||5%|
|Public Policy Polling||February 23–26, 2012||900||± 3.3%||46%||49%||—||5%|
|Marquette University||January 19–22, 2012||701||± 3.7%||50%||44%||2%||4%|
|Public Policy Polling||October 20–23, 2011||1,170||± 2.9%||48%||46%||—||6%|
|Republican||Scott Walker (Incumbent)||1,335,585||53.1|
|Republican||Rebecca Kleefisch (Incumbent)||1,301,739||52.9|
|Trivedi %||Trivedi votes||Voter turnout|
|Fond du Lac||Walker||63.9||29,060||35.4||16,105||0.7||309||58%|
Despite the protests, which followed shortly after Walker's inauguration, Walker's margin of victory in the recall election increased by 1 percentage point compared to the previous election (6.8% vs 5.8%). Approximately 350,000 more people voted in the recall election than in the 2010 election (2.5 million vs 2.15 million), making voter turnout in the recall 57.8%, the highest for a Wisconsin gubernatorial election not on a presidential ballot. The Republican bastions of Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington had the highest turnouts in the state, at 74%, 72%, and 70% respectively. The Democratic bastion of Dane was not far behind, at 67% voter turnout. Menominee had the lowest turnout in the state, with only 28% voter turnout. Walker won 60 counties in the recall election, compared to 59 in 2010. 3 counties flipped from Walker to Barrett in the recall election (Colombia, Kenosha, and La Crosse), while 4 counties flipped from Barrett to Walker in the recall election (Crawford, Eau Claire, Green, and Trempealeau). Walker's margin of victory increased in 54 counties, while it decreased in 18 counties. Walker did better in most of northern Wisconsin, while Barrett did better in southeast Wisconsin and the most northern counties in the state. Twelve counties (Buffalo, Calumet, Clark, Door, Forest, Kewaunee, Outagamie, Pepin, Price, Rusk, Taylor, and Trempealeau) had swings towards Walker by six points or more compared to the last election, while six counties (Columbia, Dodge, Douglas, Kenosha, Racine, and Rock) had swings towards Barrett by two points or more. The Democratic strongholds of Dane County and Milwaukee County went more to Barrett in the recall election, while the Republican strongholds of Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington went more Walker.
Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, 2014
On July 31, 2014, Scott Bauer reported for the Associated Press:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday [July 31, 2014] upheld the 2011 law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most [Wisconsin] public workers, sparked massive protests and led to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recall election and rise to national prominence. The 5-2 ruling upholds Walker's signature policy achievement in its entirety and is a major victory for the potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, who is seeking re-election this year. The ruling also marks the end of the three-year legal fight over the law, which prohibits public-employee unions from collectively bargaining for anything beyond wage increases based on inflation. A federal appeals court twice upheld the law as constitutional. "No matter the limitations or 'burdens' a legislative enactment places on the collective-bargaining process, collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not constitutional obligation", Justice Michael Gableman wrote.
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissented from the ruling, arguing the law unconstitutionally infringes on protected rights.
Investigation of alleged illegal campaign coordination
In August 2012, the first investigation, which had been launched by John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney, a Democrat, into missing funds, was rolled into a second John Doe probe based on a theory that Governor Walker's campaign had illegally coordinated with conservative groups engaged in issue advocacy during the recall elections. The initial John Doe judge, now retired Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka, overseeing the John Doe investigation issued 30 subpoenas and 5 search warrants. She also issued a secrecy order which meant that those being investigated were legally bound from discussing any facet of the investigation publicly. Shortly thereafter, she recused herself from the investigation. Kluka's replacement, Judge Gregory Peterson, quashed several subpoenas in January 2014, saying "there was no probable cause shown that they violated campaign finance laws".
The special prosecutor[who?] took the unusual step of filing a supervisory writ, essentially appealing Judge Peterson's decision, with the same appeals court that had denied a motion to stop the investigation. On July 16, 2015 the Wisconsin Supreme Court closed the investigation into whether Governor Walker's campaign had illegally coordinated with outside groups by a 4–2 vote. Justice Michael J. Gableman in writing for the majority stated, "To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor's legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed."
The director of Wisconsin Club for Growth (the Wisconsin arm of the national Club for Growth), Eric O'Keefe, defied the gag order, and filed a lawsuit alleging the probe was partisan and violated First Amendment rights to free expression. In a May 6, 2014 order, Judge Rudolph T. Randa found the investigation had no legal basis.
One day later, a three-judge panel (Wood, Bauer and Easterbrook) of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago stayed Judge Randa's preliminary injunction, ruling he had overstepped his authority as prosecutors had already appealed an earlier decision in the case. Randa could issue his injunction only if he certified their appeal as frivolous. The appeals court also ruled that Judge Randa could not order prosecutors to destroy evidence collected in the five-county probe. Judge Randa quickly certified the appeal as frivolous and the appeals court upheld the preliminary injunction ruling that he did have the authority to issue the injunction.
At the request of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, the court unsealed documents from the investigation on June 19, 2014. These documents reveal the prosecutors' theory that Governor Walker was at the center of a plan to illegally coordinate fundraising efforts with a number of outside conservative groups to help him in the 2012 recall election, bypassing state election laws. A theory that had been ruled as having no legal basis by two judges.
According to a statement by prosecutors "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", and that they have "no conclusions as to whether there is sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime". To date, no one has been charged in the investigation. The probe has been effectively shut down with Judge Peterson's quashing of subpeonas until the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on whether the investigation was legal.
On August 21, 2014, a number of email messages were disclosed from a previous court filing by a special prosecutor. According to Politico, the emails purports to show that Walker made an early decision for money to be funneled though a group he trusted, and shows that he had a direct hand in "orchestrating the fundraising logistics of the opposition to the recalls". According to CBS News, the disclosures show that prosecutors claimed that Walker "personally solicited donations for [the] conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth to get around campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements as he fended off the recall attempt in 2012."
One of the emails released read, "As the Governor discussed … he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run through one group to ensure correct messaging. We had some past problems with multiple groups doing work on 'behalf' of Gov. Walker and it caused some issues … The Governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth." The Washington Post reported that the documents released show Walker solicited donors such as Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, and real estate businessman Donald Trump to give large contributions to a tax-exempt group that backed him during the recall efforts.
Wisconsin Club for Growth reportedly only ran issues ads, none of which had to do with the recall attempt. According to a The Wall Street Journal editorial (August 24, 2014), it is "legal and common" for politicians to raise money for political action committees, party committees, and 501(c)(4)'s. There are no allegations that the Wisconsin Club for Growth gave the money to Walker, or even advertised on his behalf.
In September 2014, lawyers asked a federal appeals court to uphold an injunction that blocks a Wisconsin prosecutor from reviving an investigation that targeted conservative organizations accused of illegally coordinating with the Governor for the purpose of circumventing campaign finance limits, citing selective prosecution and violations of free speech and equal protection under the law. On September 9, 2014, the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments on the appeal. During arguments, Judge Frank Easterbrook questioned the constitutionality of the secrecy orders, stating it's "screaming with unconstitutionality". Judge Diane Wood focused in on why the suit was filed in federal court. O'Keefe's attorneys pointed to the fact that the Wisconsin Supreme Court had yet to take up the cases filed in state court. On September 24, 2014, the Seventh Circuit reversed Judge Randa's injunction order and dismissed the lawsuit, not based on the merits of the case, but ruling only on federal interference in a state case. O'Keefe filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court on January 21, 2015.
Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, or GAB, performed the functions of both a state elections and ethics board during this time period and was part of the investigation due to being "presented with facts that suggested there was a violation of the law as it had been applied for years". Although credited as a "model" for other states because "members are former judges chosen in a way to ensure they will not favor either major party" and "no other state has a chief election administration authority with the same degree of insulation from partisan politics" the GAB's being part of this investigation still drew the ire of some Wisconsin Republicans. In July 2015 Governor Walker called for the dismantling of the GAB. The State Legislature, controlled by Republicans during the 2015-16 session, passed a law doing so-which Governor Walker signed-that ended the GAB in 2016 and split its functions between boards appointed by leaders of the major political parties.
In 2016, Salon.com posited that the majority of Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who halted the investigation had received assistance from the same conservative organizations that were being investigated. "Four of that court's seven justices were elected with $10 million in support (more than the jurists spent on their own campaigns) from Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, two of the 'independent' groups that Walker was accused of illegally coordinating with." This led to some of the DAs involved in the investigation appealing to the US Supreme Court with critics of the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision noting both "because the same groups under investigation helped elect them" and "the decision went beyond prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings on coordination and campaign finance laws."
On October 3, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided not to take the case despite urging by The New Yorker in order "to repair the rule of law in Wisconsin". Politics and Law Scholar Howard Schweber noted this may have been due to the US Supreme Court trying to avoid "tie outcomes".
- 2011 Wisconsin protests
- 2011 Wisconsin Act 10
- Recall elections in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Supreme Court election, 2011
- Wisconsin Senate recall elections, 2011
- Wisconsin Senate recall elections, 2012
- Scott Bauer (June 4, 2012). "Wisconsin recall battle finally goes to voters". Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- "Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch survives recall election". News8000.com. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- Hall, Dee J. (March 15, 2012). "Judge OKs petition review extension, June 5 recall election". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- NBC, CNN, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS News.
- Stephanie Jones (2012-06-05). "Lehman declares win". Journaltimes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- Davey, Monica (May 31, 2012). "Recall Election Could Foretell November Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Gilbert, Craig (2012-06-27). "Recall turnout June 5: high in most places, insanely high in some". JSOnline. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Recall Election Tests Strategies for November", April 28, 2012.
- Marley, Patrick (September 20, 2011). "New poll reflects divide on bargaining limits". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Wisconsin Recall Prospects Dimming". Public Policy Polling. October 26, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Scott Walker Raises $2.5 Million In First Half Of Year". Nbc15.com. Associated Press. July 19, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Catanese, David (August 10, 2011). "Walker recall expected to proceed". Politico. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Stein, Jason (July 20, 2011). "Walker raises more than $2.5 million in first half of 2011". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "With half the money coming from out of state, Walker far outraising recall organizers", Wisconsin State Journal, December 15, 2011; retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "Walker recall effort kicks off", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 15, 2011; retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "Recount results" (PDF). Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Schneider, Christian (January 25, 2012). "New Poll Delivers Scott Walker Good News". National Review Online. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Marquette poll" (PDF). Marquette University. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Wisconsin Recall Prospects Dimming". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- Bauer, Scott. "Governor Scott Walker seeks more time for review of recall signatures". greenbaypressgazette. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
- Kleefeld, Eric (February 17, 2012). "Judge Tells Walker: No More Extensions On The Recall". Talking Points Memo.
- Richards, Erin; Stein, Jason (March 12, 2012). "Union, MPS seek time to discuss contract changes". Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Wisconsin legislature approves Milwaukee schools plan". News8000.com. March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Recall Petition Update 11: G.A.B. Releases Final Signature Counts for Meeting Friday". Government Accountability Board. March 29, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- 29 circuit court judges signed Walker recall petitions Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Rodriguez, Barbara (March 7, 2012). "Dane County Judge David Flanagan temporarily stops new Wisconsin voter ID law". Postcrescent.com. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "Gannett apologizes after reporters sign Walker recall petitions". TMJ4. Associated Press. March 25, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "WTMJ staffers signed Governor Walker recall petition". WTMJ. April 3, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "News operations report that staffers signed Walker recall petition", jsonline.com; accessed May 6, 2014.
- "WTMJ4 report on staffers who signed Walker recall petition", jrn.com; accessed May 6, 2014.
- Todd Richmond Associated Press (January 6, 2012). "Survey: Wis. gov recall will cost $9 million: The Racine Journal Times Online". Journaltimes.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (June 3, 2012). "Wisconsin Recall Breaks Record Thanks To Outside Cash". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Bauter, Alison (June 7, 2012). "Spending on state recalls exceeds $125 million, group says". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- "Wisconsin Gov. Walker faces recall vote". USAToday.com. June 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Agitator gets enough names to challenge Walker". Channel3000.com. April 11, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Announces Major Sponsorship of CPAC: Sponsors Ronald Reagan Banquet". Judicial Watch. February 7, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "President Tom Fitton's Introductory Remarks, CPAC 2012 Ronald Reagan Banquet". Judicial Watch. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Wisconsin Recall Election: Scott Walker, Tom Barrett Make Final Push". Huffington Post. June 2, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "We recommend Walker; his removal isn't justified". JSOnline. May 19, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Editorial: Press-Gazette endorses Walker in recall election". greenbaypressgazette.com. May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "EDITORIAL: Is it working? Let's wait, see". Beloit Daily News. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Milwaukee police, firefighters endorse Gov. Walker". Fox6now.com. April 2, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (April 14, 2012). "Scott Walker Tells NRA Members He's 'A Target' In Recall Election". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Tiffany Gabbay (March 29, 2012). "Glenn Beck: Wisconsin is Ground Zero for union thuggery and Saul Alinsky tactics". TheBlaze.com. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Tiffany Gabbay (May 7, 2012). "Glenn Beck Discusses Scott Walker, 'Showdown Wisconsin', With Ami Horowitz". TheBlaze.com. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "ICYMI: Failed Presidential Hopeful and Tea Party Extremist Herman Cain Bagging Cash for Scott Walker, Dissing Mitt Romney". Wisdems.org. March 9, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Chris Christie: Scott Walker is 'courageous'". Politico.Com. May 2, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Kumar, Anita (May 24, 2012). "Bob McDonnell, Ken Cuccinelli help Scott Walker in Wisconsin recall". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (May 18, 2012). "Newt Gingrich Pimps Presidential Campaign Mailing List To Shill For Soon-To-Be-Recalled WI Gov. Scott Walker". Axiom Amnesia. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- John Nichols (May 24, 2012). "Scott Walker's Southern Strategy Aligns Him With 'Union Buster' Nikki Haley". The Nation. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Gov. Bobby Jindal to campaign for Gov. Scott Walker". Fox11online.com. May 23, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to attend rally for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker". postcrescent.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Scott Walker vs. Barack Obama". Rushlimbaugh.com. May 31, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Democrat Desperation Time in Wisconsin". Rushlimbaugh.com. January 27, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Malkin, Michelle (March 28, 2012). "The war on Wisconsin; Update: Sarah Palin's call to arms". Michelle Malkin. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "President Bill Clinton vs. Gov. Scott Walker and me". Wnd.com. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Puddytat (March 29, 2012). "Romney and Sarah Palin Support Scott Walker. With Friends Like These". Daily Kos. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Parnell says Wisconsin governor takes courageous stand on unions". Newsminer.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Ron Paul says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker making positive changes". TwinCities.com. Associated Press. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (May 28, 2012). "Michael Reagan Says 'Win One For The Gipper' In Pro-Scott Walker Ad". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Michael Reagan. "Michael Reagan: War cry in Wisconsin should be 'Remember PATCO!'". Shreveport Times. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- Kornacki, Steve. "Scott Walker's "John Doe" scandal, explained – Wisconsin Recall". Salon.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Rep. Paul Ryan says he'll help Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin recall". Twincities.com. Associated Press. April 10, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney embrace Scott Walker". Politico.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "May 8 recall primary election results". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 8, 2012.
- Weinger, Mackenzie (March 30, 2012). "Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor, enters Wisconsin recall". Politico. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- Kurtenbach, Bridget (January 18, 2012). "Kathleen Falk announces candidacy for governor". WQOW TV. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- "La Follette praises Barrett in primary win". Fox11online.com. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Democrats show unity in race for governor of Wisconsin". Fox6now.com. May 9, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "La Follette Moves Closer To Run For Governor". WISC-TV. February 22, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Stein, Jason (February 8, 2012). "Sen. Vinehout to jump in to governor's recall race". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- Stein, Jason (March 31, 2012). "Rep. Barca won't run in recall". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 31, 2012.
- Vanegeren, Jessica (February 1, 2012). "Sen. Cullen says he won't run for governor". The Capital Times. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- Heynen, Nick (April 2, 2012). "Barrett gets endorsement from Erpenbach". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- Weiner, Rachel (August 19, 2011). "Russ Feingold not running in 2012". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Johnson, Shawn (April 5, 2012). "Barrett picks up key endorsements". Superior Telegraph. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- Catanese, David (April 9, 2012). "Obey endorses Tom Barrett in Walker recall". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Cap Times editorial. "Tom Barrett for governor". Host.madison.com. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Sierra Club endorses Tom Barrett for Governor" (PDF). Sierra Club. May 16, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Johnson, Jackie (April 4, 2012). "Barrett vows to end Wisconsin's civil war". Wisconsin Radio Network. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Bill Clinton slams Scott Walker agenda". Politico.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Daily Kos Labor (May 9, 2012). "Tom Barrett receives immediate support from Wisconsin unions and Kathleen Falk in recall effort". Daily Kos. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Staff (May 18, 2012). "Russ Feingold Hosting Fundraiser For Tom Barrett In Wisconsin Recall Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (May 9, 2012). "Russ Feingold Fundraises For Tom Barrett In Wisconsin Recall". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Barrett picks up 3 local endorsements in bid to replace Gov. Walker". greenbaypressgazette.com. May 6, 2014.
- Nayantara Mukherji. "Arthur Kohl-Riggs and supporters hope to send recall message to Dems and GOP alike". Isthmus.com. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Sen. Herb Kohl Endorses Tom Barrett In Wisconsin Recall Democratic Primary". talkingpointsmemo.com. April 12, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- Kucinich, Dennis (April 14, 2011). "Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Admits It". YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Staff (May 31, 2012). "Tom Barrett Will Stress Scott Walker's 'Failure To Lead' In Final Debate". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Obey endorses Tom Barrett in Walker recall". politico.com. April 9, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- "Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley headed to Wisconsin – why is President Obama doing the "fly over"?". Gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com. May 30, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Barrett and O'Malley: Two Peas in a Pod?". The Weekly Standard. May 16, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Michael Dresser (May 30, 2012). "O'Malley to stump in Wisconsin for Walker foe". Articles.baltimoresun.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Annie Linskey. "McDonnell attacks O'Malley on taxes". Articles.baltimoresun.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Jones, Alex (June 4, 2012). "Tarpley, Jones: The Great Debate!". YouTube. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
- "Kathleen's Endorsements". Kathleenfalk.com. March 20, 2012. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012.
- Stein, Jason (April 4, 2012). "U.S. Rep. Kind, Women's Campaign Fund make endorsements in governor's race". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Candidates in gubernatorial, lt. gov. and senate recalls turn in paperwork". Fox6now.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Independent write-in gubernatorial candidate Zelinski enters race". Badgerherald.com. April 29, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Docter, Cary (April 2, 2012). "Milwaukee police, firefighters endorse Gov. Walker". Fox6now.com. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "Walker Campaign Reacts To Mayor Tom Barrett'S Entrance Into The General Election". Scottwalker.org. May 8, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Tom Barrett Faces Scott Walker In June". Barrettforwisconsin.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Walker agrees to debate Barrett twice before Recall election". Scott Walker Watch. May 9, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- "Election Map 2012: Live Voting Results". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- "Wisconsin Recall Election Results Map". Elections.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- Gilbert, Craig (2012-06-27). "Recall turnout June 5: high in most places, insanely high in some". Jsonline.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "2011 law which led to recall election is upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 5-2", talkingpointsmemo.com; accessed August 19, 2014.
- Kittle, MD (June 9, 2014). "‘Never-ending’ John Doe never ended, WSJ reports". Wisconsin Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- "Wisconsin Political Speech Raid", Wall Street Journal; November 18, 2013.
- "Judge in Democrat-led John Doe probe recuses herself", Wisconsin Reporter; October 30, 2013.
- Kittle, MD (June 9, 2014). "‘Never-ending’ John Doe never ended, WSJ reports". Wisconsin Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Milwaukee John Doe investigation, watchdog.org; accessed September 15, 2015.
- Wisconsin Reporter, "John Doe special prosecutor appeals judge's ruling quashing subpoenas", February 28, 2014.
- DelReal, Jose A.; Johnson, Jenna (2015-07-16). "Scott Walker clears big legal hurdle in Wisconsin". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- Helderman, Rosalind S. (May 6, 2014). "Judge Halts Probe". The Washington Post.
The defendants are pursuing criminal charges through a secret John Doe investigation against the plaintiffs for exercising issue advocacy speech rights that on their face are not subject to the regulations or statutes the defendants seek to enforce. This legitimate exercise of O'Keefe's rights as an individual, and WCFG's rights as a 501(c)(4) corporation, to speak on the issues has been characterized by the defendants as political activity covered by Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, rendering the plaintiffs a subcommittee of the Friends of Scott Walker and requiring that money spent on such speech be reported as an in-kind campaign contribution. This interpretation is simply wrong.
- 7th Circuit United States Court of Appeals overturns Randa decision, jsonline.com; retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Judge's order tossing 'John Doe' investigation is stayed", Wisconsin State Journal, May 7, 2014; retrieved May 14, 2014.
- RE "John Doe" investigations against Republicans and conservatives in Wisconsin, watchdog.org; accessed July 31, 2014.
- "Government by intimidation", nypost.com, May 11, 2014; accessed August 1, 2014.
- "Prosecutors Allege Scott Walker At Center Of Campaign Finance Criminal Conspiracy". The Huffington Post. June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- "Appeals court judge upholds judge's order shutting down John Doe probe", Wisconsin Reporter, June 9, 2014.
- Marley, Patrick; Bice, Daniel; Glauber, Bill (June 19, 2014). "John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of 'criminal scheme'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- "Judge stops WI prosecutors' John Doe probe into conservatives", Wisconsin Reporter, May 6, 2014.
- "Governor Walker not a target according to 'John Doe' special prosecutor", madison.com; accessed August 4, 2014.
- Schouten, Fredreka; Madhani, Aamer (June 19, 2014). "Prosecutors allege Walker in criminal scheme regarding fundraising". USA Today. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Wisconsin Supreme Court to take up John Doe complaints", watchdog.org, December 17, 2014.
- Hohman, James. "The Scott Walker documents: 6 must-read passages". Politico. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- "New emails show Scott Walker's fundraising strategy in recall election". CBS News. August 23, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Gold, Matea (August 23, 2014). "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought help from top GOP donors for allied group". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- "Target of secret John Doe probe is fighting back and speaking out", Wisconsin Reporter, October 2, 2014.
- "Hyperventilating in Wisconsin". The Wall Street Journal. August 24, 2014.
- Shapiro, Jeffrey. "Walker support group seeks to uphold prosecution injunction". Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Wisconsin prosecutors appeal for protection from blowback in partisan probe Wisconsin Reporter; September 9, 2014
- Appeals court reverses John Doe injunction, but Wisconsin's secret war far from over, Wisconsin Reporter, September 24, 2014.
- O'Keefe takes his case against John Doe to U.S. Supreme Court, watchdog.org, January 21, 2015; accessed July 27, 2015.
- "Exit Interview with Kevin Kennedy, Executive Director of the Government Accountability Board", wpr.org, June 23, 2016
- "America's Top Model: The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board", UC Irvine Law Review, 2013.
- "Walker calls for dismantling of state elections board", wkow, July 20, 2015
- "It hurts to be right...", salon.com, September 16, 2016.
- "Wisconsin Supreme Court won't restart John Doe probe", Wisconsin State Journal, April 28, 2016.
- Pilkington, Ed (September 14, 2016). "Because Scott Walker Asked: Leaked court documents from ‘John Doe investigation’ in Wisconsin lay bare pervasive influence of corporate cash on modern US elections". The Guardian.
- "An Email Trail Leads to Gov. Walker". New York Times. September 19, 2016.
- "Why the Supreme Court Should Take On Political Corruption in Wisconsin", newyorker.com, September 23, 2016.
- "US Supreme Court Declines To Hear Wisconsin's John Doe Appeal", wpr.org, October 3, 2016.