Railroad executive William E. Gardner has been charged with two felony counts of violating campaign finance laws for reimbursing his employees for making donations in political contests, including last year’s governor’s races, sources said Monday.
According to sources, Gardner is expected to plead guilty to the two felonies, and Milwaukee County prosecutors are recommending no jail time and probation. The charges were filed Monday morning in Washington County, where Gardner lives.
Gardner is being charged under a state law that prohibits anyone from giving money to someone else so they may make a political donation. The violation is a Class I felony, which has a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., told state regulators last year that he used railroad receipts to reimburse workers who had given to Scott Walker, who later defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, for governor.
In response, Walker returned more than $43,000 in donations to Gardner and a handful of his company workers. The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee also has forfeited $3,500 in donations from Gardner.
It’s illegal in Wisconsin to give corporate money to political candidates.
Gardner’s attorney, Robert Friebert, declined to discuss the matter late Sunday.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I have no comment,” Friebert said.
Milwaukee County prosecutors have been conducting a John Doe probe into the allegations. A press conference on this matter will be held at 2 p.m. in Madison.
Sorry for the false alarm, this appears it does not have to do with the extremely questionable shenanigans in Walkersha County, but about some new Walker illegal corruption altogether.