Showing posts with label John Doe investigation into Scott Walker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Doe investigation into Scott Walker. Show all posts

Mar 5, 2014

Scott Walker and Aides Shared Confidential County Business on Private Emails

Scott Walker and his aides saw the Milwaukee County Executive's office as their political fiefdom, not an elected office, responsible to the people.

Lisa Kaiser reports:

"Gov. Scott Walker’s aides in his Milwaukee County executive’s office used their private emails to share information protected by attorney-client privilege, confidential contract bidding details, and updates from closed-door meetings, a survey of the newly released John Doe emails shows."

No staffer in Walker's office is revealed to be stating, 'we can't be doing this.'

That taking confidential, private information and giving the information to Walker's political campaign was standard operating procedure shows that this abuse of office is what Scott Walker believed he was entitled.

Mar 4, 2014

Washington Post: A behind the scenes look at Scott Walker

Update: John Nichols comments on Scott Walker and his stonewalling of the Wisconsin people after "Tens of thousands of emails detailing the ethical and legal lapses, political misdeeds, insensitivity, sexism, racism and homophobia of his 'inner circle' of closest aides were released." Notes Nichols:  "The headlines in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal, newspapers that endorsed Walker’s initial election and refused to support the recall, were tough — going so far as to suggest that the governor must have known about secret political operations set up in his Milwaukee County Executive Office. Both newspapers have used their editorial pages to demand answers from Walker, as did other papers."
The Washington Post has a piece out portraying Scott Walker as a "leader on the rise," during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County Executive (2002-10).

The piece says Walker was fixated with "cultivating his political image," and features numerous emails and accompanying descriptions supporting this characterization.

What is striking about this obsession of Walker's is that this campaign for governor reveals an almost pathological disregard for the people of Milwaukee County—"in the hours after a boy was killed at a county owned garage, Walker's staff was quickly concerned about his public image."

What about the kid killed?

"A 13-ton concrete slab had come loose and fallen from a county-owned parking garage in Milwaukee, crushing and killing a 15-year-old boy, and within minutes, aides feared the worst for their boss, then Milwaukee County’s top elected official," writes Rosalind S. Helderman in her piece.

It comes as no surprise that most of the people on the emails are convicted criminals or struck immunity deals with the John Doe probe.

These are Walker's people.

We read emails from Tim Russell (felon who embezzled from a veterans' fund) and Kelly Rindfleisch (misconduct in public office) and the whole bunch of Walker's staff who hijacked a public office and used it as a campaign in Walker's rise to power.

Left out of the Post report is the fact that Milwaukee County Asst DA Bruce Landgraf presented evidence in court this year that Walker's top campaign and County staff sent emails between January and October 2010 [election for governor was in November 2010] using the secret and illegal email system installed in Scott Walker's office. Hence, we have all these emails made public after Rindfleisch appealed her criminal conviction.

Walker's press secretary now wants Wisconsin to believe that Walker's office was not using a secret Internet system as early as 2002, as was recently reported.

Mar 2, 2014

Winning Definition of Scott Walker: Conniving, Two-faced and Against You

Scott Walker: Don't look at me or anything I've done
Update: "Walker and his people hijacked government to serve his own political interests rather than the interests of the people." (Conniff. The Progressive)
When Republicans define a political opponent, they do so prior to the declaration of candidacy.

This means Republicans fabricate and lie, hoping not many folks are paying attention, and certainly not thinking.

Democrats on the other hand attempt to use facts and reality-based arguments seeking a mandate to win an election.

This is a difference in ethics between the parties, emphatically in the post-Citizens United world.

Every effective communication—working the press on stories, jumping on stories, feeding stories—all to help define, say Scott Walker with free media is an imperative to winning an election.

Conclusion: Do that.

In Wisconsin, the plausible definition of Scott Walker is a conniving, two-faced rat, against You and against veterans home from war.

By the way, for the George Lakoff "framing" freaks who believe they found the new, revealed code to political communications, they have not.

The political act of convincing communications in support of a compelling message has been used for almost 100 years—it's called PUBLIC RELATIONS, ... freaks.

Feb 23, 2014

Two Largest Wisconsin Dailies Call for Scott Walker to Hold Press Conference on Emails

From left to right: Tim Russell, Scott Walker and Brian Pierick
"Don't think for a minute that Walkergate or its effect will end ... ." 
Update: Even Fox News host, Chris Wallace, grows frustrated with Scott Walker's evasions.

WALLACE: Did you have your own private e-mail account?

SCOTT WALKER: It’s one of those where I point out district attorney has reviewed every single one of these issues.

WALLACE: But sir, you’re not answering my question.

SCOTT WALKER: No, because I’m not going to get into 27,000 different pieces of information.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal are both editorially supportive of Scott Walker to a fault.

Now, the two largest Wisconsin dailies are calling on Walker to come clean with an extended press conference that ends when the press is done with questions, not when Scott Walker declares this is "old news."

It's not old news when the probe that resulted in 15 convictions involving his former top aides, who as the emails reveal, acted on Scott Walker's orders, is now a public fact shown in black and white. Walker knew, was a participant and lied about it. Why?

Scott Walker cannot weasel away on this one.

From a PR perspective, as the editorials writers at the Journal-Sentinel and State Journal are aware, a hours-long, question-and-answer session explaining and apologizing is the right thing to do.

From a good government perspective, it's imperative.

Everyone is wondering why Scott Walker was not prosecuted when the court-ordered release of the 27,000 emails shows Walker was the top dog in the conspiracy to run a secret political campaign out of a public office.

Scott Walker even parades this fact of not being prosecuted in his seconds-long encounters with friendly, GOP-aligned journalists.

I wasn't prosecuted is a fair point.

As are the voluminous emails proving Walker knew and directed action on the secret email system, and after his aide was caught ordered that the use of the secret email system stop, shortly before the Milwaukee County Executive office was raided by law enforcement.

As noted by Ruth Conniff in The Progressive Magazine, there's nowhere left to hide now.

Scott Walker Is Desperate So Wisconsin State Journal Runs Pathetic Flack Piece

Here's Steven Verburg's (GOP) fronting for Scott Walker in his piece on Sunday's front page.
More than 28,000 pages of secret emails and other documents released under court order last week illustrate in sharp detail the extent to which modern electronic devices allowed Scott Walker’s top taxpayer-funded staff in the Milwaukee County executive’s office to be secretly converted into political campaign assets in 2010.

But his former aides were betrayed by the supposedly hidden laptops, wireless connections and Web-based email accounts after prosecutors seized hard drives that stored reams of messages. ...
Scott Walker used the secret, illegal router email system; he "urged both county employees and campaign aides to go to news websites and post comments promoting him and his record, " (Stein, Marley and Bice. MJS), and after his aide Darlene Wink was caught, Walker then Walker ordered the system shut down.

To state his aides were "betrayed" is like saying an idiot who fires a pistol at a man for being black was betrayed by the bullet.

No, Walker and his aides were not "betrayed," as Steven Verburg writes while pretending to be a journalist, instead of a Walker flack.

Walker and his aide are perpetrators who ran a campaign for governor from the office of Milwaukee County Executive, and even found time during business hours to sneak in their own brand of humor about Jews, blacks, gays and disabled Americans on emails that no decent person regards as anything but vile.

As Democurmudgeon writes (and I am posting almost his entire text; he won't mind as he as repulsed as I am) watch this video at bottom:

MSNBC's Chris Hayes hit on the real revelation of the newly released stack of emails. Hayes points out "the shear jaw dropping offensiveness" of a few of those emails.
Hayes: "What kind of work environment exactly would it be all okay to get this in your inbox and then forward it to an unspecified amount of coworkers and subordinates...but think about the kind of work environment in which a chief of staff sends this kind of email to his subordinates. An email that is explicitly homophobic, racist, antisemitic and offensive in every way possible? ... These are the thoughts people who are in charge of things like, oh I don't know, running the states welfare system." 
This is who Scott Walker and new Republican Party are.

If anyone is wondering if Republican officeholder criticized Scott Walker's former chief of staff and other Walker aides for this crap, forget it, no GOP officeholder in Wisconsin ever publicly criticizes Scot Walker and his staff.

Feb 22, 2014

Emails: Scott Walker Urged County Staff to Comment on News Websites and Promote Him

"In the heat of the 2010 governor's race, Scott Walker urged both county employees and campaign aides to go to news websites and post comments promoting him and his record, newly unsealed documents show." (Stein, Marley and Bice. MJS)

We know Walker used the illegal email system; we know he knew about it though even now, incredibly, Walker will not admit this; and we know Darlene Wink got busted for promoting Scott Walker on County time, a crime that Walker urged County staff to commit.

The very first question of Walker if he has the guts and decency to answer questions should be: Governor, do you think you really have the credibility to deserve reelection?

Darlene Wink had to plea bargain for doing precisely what Scott Walker in black and white urged her and others do to.

Feb 21, 2014

Scott Walker Says He's "Done" with Scandal; Claim Not Supported by Facts

Title 18 USC § 201 - Hey, Scott Walker if you do take
questions from the people, I have a question RE the above
federal statute. I just don't trust you, Mr. Governor.
Check out Mining Mogul's greasing Walker and Co.
Scott Walker has still refused to hold one extended news conference, or one listening session to answer questions about the emails bombshells revealing his tenure as Milwaukee county executive that resulted in some 15 criminal convictions, a racist culture and what appears be grounds for criminal investigation into a political operation run out of a public office.

Wisconsin's largest daily newspaper that is editorially supportive of Walker, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, has demanded Gov. Scott Walker must answer questions raised by release of emails.

"The longer he dodges questions, the more he undercuts his reputation as a straight-shooter. There are questions that need answering that only the governor can answer. The people of Wisconsin deserve those answers," concludes the editorial.

One extended news conference won't do the job either; Walker needs to follow the example of Chris Christie and hold regular listening sessions, partially because Scott Walker was in charge.

Jim Myers reports from D.C. that Walker won't answer questions because he says he's "done" now, and hence Wisconsin voters are not owed any explanations.

Reports Myers:
Walker was asked if he would agree to hold a news conference to address the document disclosures, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did when controversy erupted over the closure of lanes heading into the George Washington Bridge.

"No, because I am done," Walker said. "The difference is he (Christie) was just at the beginning of his process. This has been done. Your paper and others have reported on it. You are basically getting a splash because political opponents of mine want to draw attention to something that has already been resolved as of last March."
Actually, Walker is anything but done, because the five district attorneys and supervising judge are looking into a "wide variety of state-related issues, including the recall races, ... a current legislative leader and the governor's contest." the John Doe probe began in part because the "investigation is following up on a number of leads turned up by an earlier John Doe probe ... ." (Bice. MJS; Oct. 21, 2013) So, even the first John Doe is not done in that in carries on into John Doe II.

While Scott Walker may believe he has the power to declare a criminal matter done and resolved, law enforcement, the rule of law and the Wisconsin people are going to have the final word on Walker's scandal.

Walker is exposed to the public and he does not like it. Seeing how petty, hateful, bigoted and obtuse Walker and his minions are is a PR disaster for this bunch.

Personally for Walker is the exposure of the man as a liar, seemingly pathological. As Dave Zweifel writes in his Plain Talk column: "There were several revelations that came from the thousands of John Doe emails released Wednesday by the Appeals Court, but what caught my attention the most was how the emails confirmed just how much Gov. Scott Walker lies.

Yes, he lies and he was in charge of a criminal rise to political power.

The Wisconsin John Doe statute is 968.26. Remember that because attacks on law enforcement investigating Walker and the Money are going to increase.

This is a legal investigation convened and supervised to find if and by whom crimes have been committed. Let's not kid ourselves, there are huge-moneyed forces that want to stop this law enforcement investigation and they have the money to apply pressure to try to get their way. For now, the John Doe probe II is anything but done.

Speaking of not being done, check out the continuing coverage of Wisconsin's venerable The Progressive Magazine, the scourge of Joe McCarthy in 1954 and of Scott Walker 2011-?

My favorite is Walker's Denials No Longer Hold Up by Ruth Conniff.

The Progressive is poring over the 27,000 pages of emails and is pumping out precisely written scoop after scoop daily.

Emails Suggest Scott Walker Aides Ran Illegal Vote-Purging Scheme

From One Wisconsin Now in 2010
Update: This story has been retracted by The Progressive.

This explosive charge should result in another investigation; why haven't these crimes been investigated and prosecuted before?

From The Progressive:
Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker's top aides engaging in an illegal scheme to "cage" Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations. Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.
In 2010, One Wisconsin Now revealed a voter caging plot in Wisconsin:  CAUGHT ON TAPE: Wisconsin GOP and Tea Party Target to block Minorities and College-age Voters in Voter Caging Plot.

The groups involved in the caging scheme were Americans for Prosperity, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and various Tea Party types,

High Wisconsin turn-out rates had to be stopped.

Likely Scott Walker aides teamed up with these idiots.

Illegal Email System Will Cost Scott Walker, Says Expert, as Walker Stands Mute

When Multiple Kelly Rindfleisch learned she is a target
Talking Point Memo has two pieces worth reading as national media pundits are doing their best to pooh pooh the vile racism and Walker's clear complicity in the illegal enterprise run out of the Milwaukee County Executive's office.

See How Scott Walker's Secret Emails Could Doom Him for 2016 and Scott Walker Isn't Taking Questions About Secret Email Club.

TPM's Daniel Strauss writes:
A massive document dump released this week about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has revealed some embarrassing tidbits about former aides to the governor. So far there hasn't been a bombshell directly linking governor to legal misconduct, but the the slow burn of the scandal -- and his reluctance to answer questions about it -- may drag down any presidential or vice-presidential ambitions Walker had in 2016.

"I think it's damaging, not because there was a lot of new information in the emails that were released, but because it put the story back on the front pages and it's really displaced the other things that the governor would prefer to talk about in an re-election year," University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry C. Burden told TPM.
Walker's credibility had been nuked nationally, and his penchant for surrounding himself with dumb, racist hicks is on full display, as the national know-nothing talking heads and hacks laugh off venal racism and duplicity of Scott Walker and his closest staff.

Walker's habit of appointing racists has continued in his tenure as governor. See Scott Walker aide behind ‘Black Friday’ fundraiser fired for racist tweets (December 3, 2013), Top Scott Walker Aide Fired for Recent Racist Facebook Rant Had Earlier Directed Staff to Withhold Information About Free Photo ID to Low-Income Wisconsinites (August 9, 2013) and on and on.

Meanwhile the national treasure known as The Progressive Magazine has more pieces eviscerating Walker:

As for Scott Walker's legal future bear in mind that John Doe investigators under the statute 968.26 (2) (b), under the the supervision of the judge of the investigation may approve subpoenaing (and certainly considering records already subpoenaed) "written records that the judge finds relevant," and this would include rereading the 10,000s of e-mails that the investigators may have missed.

The point is just because the focus of John Doe II appears to be illegal coordination, adding to the scope of the investigation is certainly within the John Doe II's probe's charge, and just like everybody else who has seen the emails by Scott Walker on the illegal email system, there appears to be no reason why investigators and district attorneys could not reach the conclusion that crimes have been committed.

Feb 20, 2014

Scott Walker Meltdown Lesson: Don't Trust National Pundits, Except Nate Silver

From left to right: Tim Russell, Scott Walker and Brian Pierick
"Don't think for a minute that Walkergate or its effect will end ... ." 
Even today the well-regarded Larry Sabato ranks Scott Walker as a "First Tier" candidate, along with Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

Dr. Sabato should perhaps update that Crystal Ball.

Sabato was joined by virtually the entire D.C. commentariat in this ridiculous assertion that this corrupt lightweight from Wisconsin could ever function on the national stage, though most progressives just wanted Walker out front so he could take a fall.

Political writers at Cognitive Dissidence and I am proud to note, this site have been saying for years that Scott Walker as a presidential candidate is a joke that is not going to happen.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice also knew better, saying Walker is not an "ideas guy" who could quickly become the Rick Perry of 2016 if Walker ever threw his hat into the ring.

Now, that Walker's political trajectory is plunging towards the bottom of Wisconsin's Lake Mendota, time to say I told you so. From last year:

Put aside the fact that the national press would look much more carefully than the Wisconsin press has at the machinations of WalkerGate and Walker's aides stealing money from veterans.

Put everything aside that we know about Walker's extremist, Tea Party-crazy ideology, and the growing currency of the Walker image as a petty, vindictive politician.

The heavies in the GOP know they cannot go with this crazy hick—way too much baggage, horrible optics, and the guy is a lightweight. 

And about that other guy from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan ... Paul Ryan will never be president of the United States. He's as fake as Walker, just not as dumb.

Scott Walker Hides; Chris Christie Holds Town Meeting Question and Answer

Update: From the former office of Scott Walker: Walker Aide Uses the “C” Word.

The latest from Scott Walker's document central is that Walker is linked to the destruction of evidence. Other revelations are just as repulsive, keep updated at The Progressive Magazine.

Scott Walker is singing his Swan Song with a Tweet from an undisclosed location, as his competition for the most corrupt governor, Chris Christie, is holding a listening session and answering their questions.

Walker says he's off to D.C. to the National Governors Association meeting, while Chris Christie who is chair of the National Governors Association was in the Middletown Township in New Jersey today to face his constituents and answer their unscripted questions.

Christie has held 105 listening sessions; Scott Walker: ZERO. Christie is hostile, loud and often rude, but unlike Walker Christie answers the questions posed to him.

Walker's idea of a listening session is to talk to reporters by answering questions not asked, and then running away before a follow-up can be posed. Can anyone imagine Walker facing Wisconsin citizens and taking their questions in the same straight, direct manner that Christie handles the task?

Mary Bottari at PR Watch has an excellent piece out, The Top Five Things You Need to Know about the John Doe Emails.

Bottari finds more illegal fundraising, lies, coverups, and the fact that Scott Walker was in charge of the criminal enterprise of running a political campaign out of a public office.

"Repeated emails from Walker show that he was a hands-on manager of the 'inner circle,'" notes Bottari.

Check out her piece.

The more we find out about Scott Walker, the less credible he becomes, explaining perhaps why he is in hiding when he is in Wisconsin, (he refuses to post his public schedule) and why he spends so much time out of state.

Walker wants to run for office with the money he raises from D.C., Texas and New York, never having to explain to the Wisconsin people what he is doing to our state.

Here from PR Watch are the shots of the people convicted by John Doe 1, the people whose company Scott Walker kept in his criminal rise to power.

Scott Walker Exceeds Probable Cause for Criminality and Venality

Wisconsin John Doe probe is testimony to
our faith in the Rule of Law
Last October, Scott Walker refused to engage a question about the John Doe II probe and offered an evasive statement, "We expected that with a new Democrat candidate for governor in the race that there would be stories like this along the way." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) and (WPR)

No Wisconsin journalist expects a straight answer from Scott Walker anymore, something the nation is now finding out as another republican mentioned as a presidential candidate has fallen in a spectacular fashion.

Right about now, it can be said with certainty that Scott Walker did not expect the myriad stories after the court-ordered release of some 27,000 documents reveals the depravity and duplicity of his former top aides and him in black and white.

Walker is now drawing unfavorable comparisons to Chris Christie, and it won't be long before national Republicans begin to walk away from Walker with the same urgency they now employ in avoiding Christie.

Not that this white flight matters a great deal in this post-Citizens United era in which billionaires determine who the Republicans nominate for president, and not GOP politicos or voters.

Now that a fraction of emails from Walker's secret and illegal email system used to campaign in the offices of Milwaukee County has been released, Walker and his administration are equally evasive about John Doe I as about John Doe II: "The recently released communications of a county staffer from several years ago are part of a legal process that was completed early last year,' said Jonathan Wetzel, the spokesman. "Governor Walker is confident that during that legal process, these communications were thoroughly reviewed by the authorities." (Davey, Yaccino. NYT)

Wetzel's two former two predecessors have been granted criminal immunity, and 15 criminal convictions resulted, including Walker's top aides, with no claims of innocence from this "legal process" referenced by Walker.

Yet, one wonders if Walker truly expects this New York Times report as well, as he claimed last year:

The (court-ordered) messages showed how actively Mr. Walker’s campaign coordinated with county workers in 2009 and 2010, when he was running for governor. They shared emails about the proper wording of campaign news releases. They exchanged emails on county time promoting a birthday fund-raising event for the campaign. Some used private email accounts to communicate even, apparently, with Mr. Walker, according to an email from the county’s administrative director, who at one point advised a colleague to do the same, adding imprecisely, “Consider youself [sic] now in the ‘inner circle.’ ” And plans for a daily conference call, the newly released emails show, included members from both his campaign for governor and his county executive staff.
As noted here, John Doe I began after Walker and his aides stonewalled investigators looking into missing money embezzled from an event honoring veterans, and law enforcement investigators subsequently found a criminal political racket run by Walker.

Stealing from veterans was later found to exceed $10,000s by two perpetrators with no veteran advocacy experience, both of whom were appointed by Scott Walker.

Walker did not bring anybody else with him to the governor's office from his tenure of Milwaukee executive so his line that the governor's office is not staffed with convicted felons is meaningless.

On "May 5, 2010, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf filed a petition with court officials asking if his office could initiate a secret investigation into what happened with $11,000 in donations intended for Operation Freedom, an annual event honoring veterans," that was staffed with Walker appointees, reported Dan Bice. That's how this criminality that is Scott Walker and his aides began.

After the Milwaukee DA failed to bring charges against Scott Walker, and the DA implied the John Doe probe was a mini-trial requiring guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to move forward, many wondered why the John Doe proceedings to did not result in Walker being charged.

With Walker now implicated in black and white, foiled by his own illegal email router system he personally used for electioneering, Walker may have a tougher time escaping criminal charges no matter how much money his billionaires pay Walker's criminal defense fund in exchange for Walker doing their bidding as Wisconsin governor.
Checking with jurists the past couple of years, without exception the belief is that Wisconsin statute 968.26, the John Doe statutory authority in Wisconsin, is a law enforcement tool used to establish probable cause, a standard or quantum of evidence typically sufficient to bring criminal charges.

Ask a black man in Milwaukee if probable cause is sufficient to convict him, and the reply is likely, 'no.'

But Scott Walker and his contributors are recipients of billionaires' treatment under the law.

The Wisconsin BenchBook reads in part regarding John Doe Proceedings:

"Proceeding to determine whether crime committed and by whom." ...
D. "Must conduct self as neutral detached magistrate in determining probable cause [47.47.]

Still, the prevailing consensus appears to be that in Wisconsin John Doe probes, determining whether to bring criminal charges is up to the prosecutor and supervising judge, who employ a standard of proof that is not clear.

As the late Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice John Coffey (1978-1982) wrote in Wisconsin v. Hooper, (No. 79-1580-CR.) (Supreme Court of Wisconsin) (April 29, 1981):

"(P)rosecuting attorneys possess broad discretion in determining whether or not to charge a defendant and thereby initiate criminal proceedings," and DAs enjoy "quasi-judicial prosecutorial discretion;" hence the enormous pressure brought to bear on the current John Doe judge, Judge Gregory A. Peterson, and the five bipartisan district attorneys whose probe is facing legal challenge in federal court and Wisconsin's Supreme Court from forces with seemingly unlimited financial resources.

The Koch-funded GOP front groups such as the Wisconsin Reporter have been attempting to apply political pressure to the John Doe proceedings as well.

It's not just prosecutorial discretion that will decide John Doe II, but also jurists able to withstand the pressure brought to bear by the huge-moneyed interests supporting Walker.

The courage of John Michael Doar and Robert H. Jackson is needed against this challenge to the rule of law supported also by hateful and bigoted political movements, the most prominent of which are underground.

Feb 14, 2014

Report: Republican Governors Association to Run Six-Figure Ad Buy Next Week

AP writer Scott Bauer has a piece today running the story first reported in the Washington Post that the "Republican Governors Association will go to bat for one of its all-stars with an early advertisement aimed at bolstering Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign."

This week, Walker, after benefiting from some $15 million in past support from the Republican Governors Association (RGA) of which Christie is now Chair, praised Chris Christie:

"He told me the same thing in private that he did to the press in New Jersey, and I have every reason to believe that the information he said is consistent with the truth, and so I still support him in his role as governor and his role in the RGA," Walker said of Christie at an economic conference. (Politico)

Walker's loyalty to Christie is being amply reciprocated by the coming statewide attack ad that implausibly attributes the national Bush-Cheney recession of 2007-08 to Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle, while claiming credit for the Obama recovery through the efforts of Scott Walker.

Walker's 250,000 new jobs campaign promise continues to be regarded as a cruel joke, and Wisconsin has underperformed the rest of the country and the Midwest in recovering from the Bush-Cheney recession.

Few outside of Scott Walker's circle see Chris Christie as anything but corrupt and a likely future criminal defendant whose fall has been a spectacular political story for months.

Why Walker's presumptive Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, passed on hitting Walker's praising the butt of late night jokes and the paradigm of corruption has left many Wisconsin progressives shaking their heads in silence.

The RGA statewide ad buy will run as 1,000s of e-mails are released from Scott Walker's secret campaign e-mail system that Walker ran from his office of Milwaukee County Executive, a scandal investigated by a John Doe probe that resulted in Walker's top aides and appointees being convicted of criminal felonies.

Walker's former aide, Kelly M. Rindfleisch, tried unsuccessfully to keep the e-mails secret so their release next week is expected to shed more light on Walker's scandal that has been largely buried by Wisconsin's Gannett newspapers and local broadcast media.

Thirteen Scott Walker associates and staffers took immunity deals to keep from being criminally charged in the John Doe probe as provided by Wisconsin's John Doe statute, a move now trumpeted by Walker aides that they say proves Walker ran a clean office.

No mention of the six Walker aides, appointees and associates convicted of crimes typically follows this line from Walker's office.

In fact, it is a distinct possibility that the e-mails will show Scott Walker hip-deep in the illegal campaign run out of his office during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive.

Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said the ad buy was no surprise in light of the $ millions spent by special interests on Walker as Wisconsin's middle class shrinks under Walker's tenure.

Burke's campaign is not being run as a grassroots operation, she a Democratic Party placeholder candidate whose primary political qualification is that she is not Scott Walker.

But Scott Walker is so dependent on ad buys by huge out-of-state interests, with massive corruption charges looming heavily that anti-Walker forces hope Walker's political house of cards could tumble in time for the November general election.

National politicos wondering 'what's the matter with Wisconsin,' need only look at the shell of the Democratic Party that has withered under Chair Mike Tate who evidently harbors an aversion to political infrastructure and a communications team.

Grassroots citizen organizations are about the only thing that has kept the radical and corrupt Republican Party at bay, such as it is, replete with $10s of millions from special interests such as the Republican Governors Association.

Dec 19, 2013

GOP Apears Intimidated by Wisconsin John Doe Probe

When the Wisconsin recall movement bloomed in 2011-12, many wise men and women warned that Wisconsin could expect vast sums of money from out-of-state GOP-aligned interests to defend Scott Walker and the GOP.

These warning proved true.

"Overall an estimated $137.5 million was spent on the unprecedented 15 recall races for governor, lieutenant governor and state Senate in 2011 and 2012, reports the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. This is Wisconsin, not populous Florida.

When news broke in October 2013 that a new John Doe probe had been launched (Bice. MJS) looking into what appears to be criminal campaign funding in the 2012-12 recall elections, Republicans and their front groups went ballistic.

The Wall Street Journal called the investigation, which finds out if and by whom crimes have been committed, an attack on GOP speech.

John Doe probes in Wisconsin are begun when a district attorney, under supervision of a judge, has more than reasonable suspension and perhaps less than probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, and investigation is/would be obstructed, is impractical, or might unnecessarily harm innocents, hence the secrecy.

Wisconsin John Doe probes are closely regulated, but the GOP and its GOP propaganda sheets believe that if the GOP is investigated, then by right the Democratic Party must also be investigated.

Other Republicans say the John Doe probe is a fishing expedition, but when pressed for facts to back up the assertion, no Republican offers anything beyond not liking the "unchecked, unbridled scope of these investigations," as Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. told the Wisconsin Reporter.

Left unasked by the GOP Party sheet is the question: How do you know this, Sheriff  Clarke? How do you what the John Doe is investigating, who and why? Who did you talk to?

But something has the GOP spooked.

In a new development, the Franklin Center for Government and Integrity, is attaching the Wisconsin John Doe investigation using anonymous sources and a variety of we-don't-like-you statements, devoid of facts like Clarke. This is typical, as Bill Lueders writes under the "Talk is cheap in John Doe probe':

A lot of folks — perhaps too many — are spouting off about the John Doe probe launched by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office into the campaign of Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and more than two dozen conservative groups, among others.

Lueders could write a new story, Talk is desperate in John Doe probe; see Why Is the Franklin Center Attacking the John Doe Probe? in The Progressive and PR Watch.

Wisconsin used to be the butt of friendly jokes for it fair and clean elections. Not any more.

Republican illegal collaboration with independent groups is suspected across the political spectrum.

As David Koch told a Palm Beach Post reporter in 2012, "(Koch) took credit for the fact the Republicans maintained control of the legislature in the (Wisconsin) Senate" recall elections held last August. He said it 'was the work our people did, what Americans for Prosperity did and the money spent that enabled them [the Republicans] to keep control in the [state] senate."

For now the public GOP line is: Stop looking at me that way, leave me alone, and quit asking all these questions.

If the GOP members served with a subpoena are sticking to this line, improbable, their politcal and legal futures are not very bright.

Nov 20, 2013

Call for Temporary Halt of John Doe Probe into Scott Walker's Recall Campaign, as New Attys Are Retained

Update: Appeals court turns down request for stay in new John Doe probe

As rightwingers sound the alarm that the Wisconsin John Doe probe is a political witch hunt against Scott Walker, rightwingers are correct in noting "big-gun" defense attorneys have been retained, confirming the fears in Republican circles of unprecedented political corruption being brought to light.

The GOP is attempting to temporary halt the John Doe probe into Scott Walker's campaign and related matters, Patrick Marley, Jason Stein and Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report today.

"Three unnamed people have asked the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to temporarily halt a secret investigation of campaign fundraising and spending during Wisconsin's recent recall elections."

The petition was filed last last night in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV.

In an another development, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka is being replaced by retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson who will now oversee the investigation.

The 69-year-old Kluka did not say why she is stepping down.

Estimates are that some $137 million was spent on the 2011-12 Wisconsin Recall elections, most of it from Republican donors.

Oct 23, 2013

Scott Walker Makes Innuendo about Reporting on John Doe II

Update: A reader notes it took Scott Walker only hours to get on the defensive from the secret, criminal probe. It would appear Walker knew this probe was coming.

Amid calls that the John Doe (May 2010-March 2013) probe records be released to the Wisconsin people, Scott Walker has already begun stonewalling the new John Doe probe and casting innuendo about the reporting of John Doe II.

John Doe I began after Walker and his gang stonewalled investigators looking into missing money, embezzled from an event honoring veterans; stealing from veterans was later found to exceed $10,000s.

On "May 5, 2010, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf filed a petition with court officials asking if his office could initiate a secret investigation into what happened with $11,000 in donations intended for Operation Freedom, an annual event honoring veterans," that was staffed with Walker appointees, reported Dan Bice.

After the Milwaukee DA failed to bring charges against Scott Walker, and the DA implied the John Doe probe was a mini-trial, many wondered what happened in the secret John Doe proceedings to determine whether crimes were committed and by whom.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is calling for release of Walker and his staff's e-mails and other documents.

Throughout John Doe I, Walker equivocated, lied and avoided any answers to shouted questions. Walker only appeared on rightwing radio, and avoided the Wisconsin people like the Ebola virus.

Walker is already trashing John Doe II saying, "We expected that with a new Democrat candidate for governor in the race that there would be stories like this along the way," said Gov. Scott Walker on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's new story on the John Doe investigation. (Murray. WPR)

What the hell does this mean?

Typical Scott Walker: Innuendo, stonewalling and lies.

If something is wrong with Dan Bice's piece on John Doe II, Walker should state it.

Walker still has not held even one listening session on John Doe I. We should not expect straight answers on John Doe II.

Marcus J. Berghahn of Hurley, Burish & Stanton S.C. offers an online resource for what a John Doe probe is.

This is needed because the secrecy of the probe and the stonewalling of Scott Walker make it likely most Wisconsin citizens will not have a clue what is going on, even if criminal charges are filed.

Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe proceedings is the statutory authority for conducting John Doe probes in Wisconsin.

Oct 22, 2013

Scott Walker on John Doe Probe—This Guy Is a Lightweight

Here's Scott Walker responding to questions regarding the new John Doe probe: "In terms of a lot of the questions regarding that issue, I really don't have a lot to say ... ."(Bice. MJS)

See also Charles P. Pierce's wrap-up in Esquire.
Things have been getting interesting for Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manager their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. He's got a book coming out, ghosted by Washington Post torture-porn columnist Marc Thiessen, no less
No way someone this inept gets in the top tier of the GOP nominaiton.

Mar 4, 2013

Questions Exist for DA and Presiding John Doe Judge on Using Wrong Standard of Proof

DA's policy on John Doe Probe
Update II: I think DA Chisholm and Judge Nettesheim should be moving ahead with charges against Scott Walker; and predictably the GOP-front group that laughably calls itself a news service, the "MacIver News Service," is attacking Chisholm for the costs of the John Doe probe, begun because of Scott Walker's stonewalling. Great, so release the records of the proceedings and to the extent possible give the GOP-front group, Maclver an accounting of the costs of the John Doe probe. What do ya say Maclver 'News Service,": Open up the John Doe records proceedings?

Update: The Wisconsin Benchbook reads in part RE John Doe Proceedings:

A: "Proceeding to determine whether crime committed and by whom."

D. "Must conduct self as neutral detached magistrate in determining probable cause [47.47.]

In the Milwaukee District Attorney's press release last week announcing the closing of the John Doe probe into Scott Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County Executive, the DA's press release reads in part: "I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded," per the Milwaukee DA's policy.

What about possible charges that are supported by the standard of 'probable cause', referred to in both the Wisconsin John Doe statute and Wisconsin Benchbook.

Why did the John Doe probe (presided over by Judge Neal Nettesheim whom right-wingers predictably slurred) use the high threshold of "beyond a reasonable doubt" as the basis on whether to bring criminal charges, as stated by the Milwaukee DA.

A call on this matter made this morning to the Milwaukee DA's office has not yet been returned.

John Doe probes examine, investigate and determine if and by whom a crime has been committed, per Wisconsin statute

John Doe probes are not mini-trials; full evidential trials in which a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is reached. [Consider the cases Wisconsin v. Hooper, 101 Wis.2d 517, 544, 305 N.W.2d 110 (1981)) and Wisconsin v. Dunn, 121 Wis.2d at 396-97, 359 N.W.2d 151 (1984).]

The probe's purpose and charge determine whether there is sufficient evidence and facts establishing probable cause that charges against a defendant should go forward and a probability of guilt exists at trial.

The significance of using this threshold of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is that there may well be a rat's nest of facts and evidence gathered that would establish probable cause that a crime has been committed, and charges would ensue in a different prosecutorial forum like a federal grand jury or other such criminal investigation.

So, what's the deal? Did the Milwaukee DA use a policy that is at odds with standards suggested by the preliminary examinations (hearings) discussed in the two Supreme Court cases referenced above?

It is noted in Hooper (a John Doe case) that "prosecuting attorneys possess broad discretion in determining whether or not to charge a defendant and thereby initiate criminal proceedings," and that DAs enjoy "quasi-judicial prosecutorial discretion."

Still, since when are John Doe probes the forum in which a DA and judge choose among conflicting gathered facts, evidence or inferences, and in which the DA and judge weigh evidence and make a finding of guilt or innocence? I thought that criminal trials do that.

The John Doe probe is the start of the trial process; not the judge and jury and concluding forum. So, why the heightened bar? Consider Dunn:

The parties in this case disagree as to what quantum of evidence is necessary at a preliminary hearing to establish to a reasonable probability that the defendant committed a felony. The court of appeals held that the probable cause requirement is satisfied if any reasonable inference supports a conclusion that the defendant probably committed a felony even though there are equally strong inferences to the contrary. In such instance, the state's evidence would not be required to reach the level that guilt is more likely than not.

Justice Louis J. Ceci. (STATE of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Appellant, v.Ronald J. DUNN, Defendant-Respondent-Petitioner)

Now, I always believed that the DA's office criminally charged when they thought they had probable cause, and went to trial when they thought they can win cases involving alleged great public harm. They go to court to win; so does the accused's defense.

A John Doe probe finds you likely to have committed a crime, then you are sentenced? No, you have a right to a trial, and a right to a presumption of innocence.

Consider grand juries in Wisconsin; they use the low standard of "probable cause" to determine whether to bring criminal charges against a defendant, thus the cliche, grand juries can indict ham sandwiches.

Different standards of proof are used in our criminal justice system processes; for example:

  • Beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Clear and convincing proof
  • Preponderance of evidence
  • Reasonable doubt
  • Reasonable suspicion
A John Doe probe is an extraordinary, secret investigation begun and conducted under Wisconsin statute 968.26.

The factor(s) causing a John Doe probe can range from conflict of interest to practical difficulties or in the probe into Scott Walker's office: Stonewalling by Scott Walker's office, (presided as mentioned over by Judge Neal Nettesheim).

Nothing in the Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe probes mandates this very high legal standard, 'beyond a reasonable doubt', in determining if there is sufficiently credible evidence to warrant a prosecution.

The standard of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' typically is the standard that criminal juries use to determine guilt and innocence in trials. 

The Wisconsin BenchBook, a judicial guide, confirms no such high standard of proof as the threshold John Doe jurists must use to bring charges.

Let's take a look at a lay definition of 'beyond a reasonable doubt':  "The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty," reads one Legal Dictionary.

This is not the standard that prosecutors, or grand juries, typically use as the determining basis of whether to bring criminal charges.

Again why did the Milwaukee DA's office use this high standard, 'beyond a reasonable doubt' as the determining bar of whether the office should bring charges against Scott Walker?

I ask because if the lower standard of probable cause were used, Wisconsin likely would have a sitting governor facing multiple criminal charges.

For now, most of the John Doe's record of proceedings remain secret, but may be released at Judge Nettesheim's discretion, perhaps in a different forum.

The Wisconsin Benchbook reads: G. "John Doe Judge rendering judicial decision must create record for possible review [47.65]."

Mar 2, 2013

A Statement of Apology from Scott Walker Is Not Sufficient

Scott Walker is still lying to Wisconsin

Only several no-holds barred, question-and-answer listening sessions can clear the air if Scott Walker truly believes he is innocent.

If Russ Feingold were governor, he would likely hold sessions in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

Democrats are calling for a statement and apology from Scott Walker.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha): "While the governor was not charged, he must make a statement accepting responsibility for the people he trusted, hired and supervised and apologize to the taxpayers, particularly the veterans, who were cheated," Barca said. (Bice and Umhoefer. MJS)
Reading Bice and Umhoefer's piece, apparently, these two journalists believe that the top executive taking responsibility is extraordinary.

Walker issued a statement reading in part: "As many may remember, this entire matter began when we asked the district attorney to look into concerns we had with respect to Operation Freedom. We appreciate the effort that was undertaken and to bring appropriate matters to justice." (Hall and Spicuzza, WSJ)

If Walker had begun the investigation out of his "concerns," why did then the district attorney seek a John Doe Probe citing Scott Walker's office's obstruction?

Not questions answered in the reporting of closing the John Doe probe.

"Milwaukee County prosecutors opened the secret John Doe criminal investigation more than two years ago after being stonewalled by Gov. Scott Walker's office when he was county executive, according to a newly released record," reported Dan Bice (MJS) in June 2012.

More reporting not mentioned in the closing the John Doe probe.

So, we are not going to get the truth or the questions that any thinking citizen has asked by the press.

The press buried the John Doe scandal. People up north and in central Wisconsin during the recall campaign had never even heard of the John Doe investigation.

If Walker is innocent as he and his allies now claim, why not face the people of Wisconsin in multiple listening sessions?

Stealing from veterans? Using secret routers; directing Tim Russell to take down the secret e-mail system? The legal defense fund contributors. The sentencing hearing of Kelly Rindfleisch. There are as many questions today as before the John Doe was launched.

As Joe 'Ragman' Tarnovsky, United States Army (28 January 1968 to 22 Oct 1970) e-mailed us here: "The following award is being presented to Scott Walker, Kevin Kavanaugh and Tim Russell for actions BELOW and INFERIOR AGAINST VETERANS: The Distinguished RAT BASTARD Tail for Thievery and Lack of Accountability."

You have that right.

Feb 7, 2013

Walker Still Keeps Criminal Defense Fund Contributors Secret

  • When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said. "I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said. (Jim Rowen. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Nov.21, 2012)
  •  My first question was a softball: “Will you pledge right now to run the most open, transparent gubernatorial administration in the history of the universe?” Gov.-elect Scott Walker’s one-word reply: “Absolutely.” (Mark Pitsch. Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal. Dec 23, 2010)
One typically does not begin a short column with bulleted quotes.

Then again we typically do not have a governor in Wisconsin accepting $100,000s given to a secret criminal defense fund, putting the lie to a central campaign promise vis a vis his direct predecessor.

As John Nichols writes: "While most Americans were preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve, newly released documents revealed that Wisconsin’s governor was quietly doing something else: transferring $40,000 from his campaign account to the secretive fund he uses to pay some of the top criminal defense lawyers in the country."

If all Scott Walker wants to do is "cooperate" with the John Doe probe charged with finding out if and by whom crimes have been committed during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County Executive, he can stop his stonewalling and say to John Doe investigators and the Wisconsin people: 'Ask me anything. My commitment to openness and transparency is absolute. '