The cloud that surrounds Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a would-be top-tier Republican presidential candidate, got a whole lot darker this afternoon.

Court documents unsealed Thursday showed that prosecutors allege that Walker was at the center of a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with outside groups as he faced a fierce recall campaign in the middle of his first term.

According to the documents, Walker wrote to top Republican strategist Karl Rove laying out how his office was coordinating with the Club for Growth, and one of its chief advisers, R.J. Johnson, who is also an adviser to Walker.

“Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state [and Twin Cities],” Walker wrote to Rove.

Prosecutors allege that Johnson helped coordinate efforts among the Walker campaign, the conservative leaning Club for Growth, and other outside entities like the Republican Governors Association and Americans for Prosperity, a pro-business group backed by the wealthy industrialists Charles and David Koch.

Raising money and coordinating campaign activities with outside groups is a violation of a state law, and, according to prosecutors, “That coordination included a nationwide effort to raise undisclosed funds for an organization which then funded the activities of other organizations supporting or opposing candidates subject to recall.”

The revelations come as Walker finds himself in an increasingly tight reelection race against Mary Burke, a Trek bicycle executive and a former state secretary of commerce. A recent Marquette University poll had the race tied.

Democrats seized on the latest revelation.

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