- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Walker reports raising nearly $5.9 million

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker raised nearly $5.9 million in the first six months of the year through a state committee used to finance his races for governor.

Walker reported the fundraising Monday to state regulators.

The money raised by his Friends of Scott Walker committee is separate from other groups he and his supporters have created to bolster his run for the Republican presidential nomination. Walker announced his presidential campaign last week.

Monday’s report shows that Walker raised nearly $5.9 million and spent almost $5.7 million over that time.

Walker also created a tax-exempt committee called Our American Revival to raise money as he explored a presidential run, and his backers have created a super PAC that can also raise unlimited amounts called Unintimidated.

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Man killed in shootout with trooper suspect in 9 bank jobs

KOYLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say a Michigan man killed in a shootout in which a Wisconsin state trooper also died was responsible for nine bank robberies.

Steven T. Snyder and 21-year-old Trooper Trevor Casper died March 24 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Authorities say the 38-year-old Snyder had just robbed the State Bank of Florence in Wausaukee, Wisconsin, when the rookie trooper confronted him.

Police say Snyder earlier killed 59-year-old motorist Thomas C. Christ near the bank.

The Grand Rapids Press and the Petoskey News Review say investigators from Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin now link Snyder to eight robberies in 2011-2015. They were in Croton, Luther, Pellston and Wellston, Michigan; Hatley, Haugen and Poplar, Wisconsin; and Rochester, Ohio.

Snyder was from Tuscola County’s Koylton Township in Michigan’s Thumb, 70 miles north of Detroit.

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GOP presidential hopeful Walker signs abortion ban bill

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one week after launching his bid for the 2016 presidential nomination, signed a bill Monday that outlaws non-emergency abortions at or beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion is a core issue for the conservative Republican base whose support Walker will seek as he tries to stand out in a crowded presidential field that also includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and billionaire Donald Trump.

While Walker has a long history of opposing abortions, it’s an issue where he could be targeted by rivals: Just nine months ago he ran a television ad during his gubernatorial re-election campaign where he expressed support for a bill that would leave abortion decisions between a woman and her doctor.

Walker’s record includes defunding Planned Parenthood; requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a law currently blocked by a federal court judge; and requiring women to have ultrasounds and be shown images of the fetus before having an abortion.

Walker last year, during his re-election campaign, refused to say last year whether he would support a 20-week abortion ban.

But in the face of questions from anti-abortion conservatives over his commitment to the issue in the light of the campaign ad, Walker in March came out in support of the 20-week abortion ban.

“The truth is that Scott Walker lied to Wisconsin voters when he was elected governor after saying that abortion is between a woman and her doctor,” said Sasha Bruce with NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading abortion rights advocacy group. “Now, in an effort to win the votes of the extreme base of the Republican Party, Walker has traded the health and well-being of women and families to score cheap political points.”

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Walker calls for dismantling of state elections board

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday called for the dismantling of an independent state agency that oversees elections and authorized an investigation into his 2012 recall campaign.

Walker, who launched his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination last week, told reporters following a bill-signing ceremony in Oshkosh that he wanted to scrap the Government Accountability Board and replace it with “something completely new that is truly accountable to the people of the state of Wisconsin.”

Walker also called for an investigation into the board’s activities. He did not say who should lead the investigation.

Walker’s comments come just four days after the state Supreme Court halted a board-approved investigation into whether conservative groups illegally coordinated with Walker’s 2012 recall campaign, saying the groups broke no laws.

Republican state lawmakers have been talking for months about reshaping the board, and the Supreme Court’s ruling and an audit detailing problems with how the board works has only bolstered the calls for change. But Democratic supporters of the board have said Republicans want to replace it with a partisan lap dog.

The board, which replaced the partisan Ethics and Elections boards in 2008, oversees elections as well as campaign finance, lobbying and ethics laws. It is comprised of six former judges appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Four of the six judges currently on the board were appointed by Walker and one was re-appointed by him. The sixth was appointed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, but his term ended in May and Walker can appoint his replacement.

Walker said in December that he was open changing the board, but didn’t call for its complete replacement then. The governor didn’t say Monday whether he wants to replace the nonpartisan judges on the board with partisan appointees.

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