Showing posts with label John Doe proceedings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Doe proceedings. 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 26, 2014

Why Scott Walker Won't Answer Questions

Question from Luke, Green Bay, WI. - A simple yes or no question "Did you Governor Walker know of the secret e-mail system?" Why won't he just answer the question? We are paying his salary. It is a simple yes-no question.
Answer from Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel  - Why won't he answer the question? My guess: He is paying his lawyers very good money, and they have told him, "Do not answer that question."

-- From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Columnist Dan Bice's Online Question and Answer

Feb 25, 2014

New Journal-Sentinel Column Signals Press Tired of Scott Walker Lies, Evasions

It's no wonder Gov. Chris Christie has done over 100 listening sessions and Scott Walker had done zero.

Walker is afraid to face the people of Wisconsin, and more afraid to face the press in an extended press conference explaining the new release of emails and the emails' writing that points to Walker cheating, lying and stealing from the taxpayers of Milwaukee County.

Scott Walker had his own illegal, secret email account, emails show.

Scott Walker ordered his personally hired Milwaukee county staff to post fatuous pro-Walker comments on Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel news online pieces, emails show.

Scott Walker and his staff campaigned on Milwaukee County time, emails show.

Scott Walker is correct in pointing out that he was never criminally charged in the first John Doe investigation, to the chagrin of the Wisconsin people who see the evidence of Walker's criminally campaigning on the taxpayers' dime, in taxpayers' space and on taxpayers' time in black and white in the court-ordered released emails.

This is what is called felony misconduct in office, as convicted Walker aide, Kelly M. Rindfleisch, will tell you.

Milwaukee County DA John T. Chisholm had the discretion in the first John Doe probe to decide whom to prosecute and he chickened out, fearing blowback in prosecuting a sitting governor.

That decision of Chisholm's is not final. The evidence for prosecuting Scott Walker is plain to see and is certainly with the scope of the John Doe II probe. The DAs now investigating if and by whom crimes were committed should prosecute those who broke the law even if this someone is a sitting governor.

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.

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 Exceeds Probable Cause for Criminality and Venality

Wisconsin John Doe probe is testimony to
our faith in the Rule of Law
Update: A corrupt U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa steps in and orders halt to John Doe probe.
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 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.' Just being black is sufficient.

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.

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 23, 2013

GOP Complains: Tell It to the Judge

Scott Walker with former aides, now convicted felons - John Doe I
"The bottom line is, I know how I have conducted myself in public service," Scott Walker said. "It is the traditions I have from my parents; it's part of how I obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. We operate at high integrity."
Wisconsin State Journal October 2, 2011

Judge Gregory Peterson is the supervising judge of John Doe II, by Wisconsin statute.

So, Republicans and their friends who funneled $10 millions into the Recall elections, if they have any facts about improper behavior of any prosecutor or investigator, tell Gregory Peterson.

Dan Bice has a new piece about Wisconsin Club for Growth, Charlie Sykes, and assorted Republicans whining.

One can assume the GOP hates the John Doe probe staff, so if the John Doe probe staff is really acting improperly, the GOP would have publicly laid out the facts and evidence.

That the GOP did not just tells you, they're a bunch of cry babies upset with the rule of law being applied to them.

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]."

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. '

Feb 6, 2013

Will John Doe Probe of Scott Walker's Office also Result in a Civil Action

Informed Wisconsin jurists confirm that the documentary record of John Doe proceedings in Wisconsin can remain secret even after criminal convictions might be secured and the proceedings are declared to be ended, at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Irrespective of what happens after the proceedings are closed [no one knows when], Eye on Wisconsin asks today, When John Doe Ends, Will Civil Remedies Begin?

A good question to pose of the sordid affairs of the only sitting Wisconsin governor to ever have formed a criminal defense fund.

Feb 1, 2013

Scott Walker Still Refusing to Speak to Wisconsin People on Criminal John Doe Probe

Tim Russell and long-time aide and friend, Scott Walker
Update: Many outside Wisconsin -- following the news here the last two years as Scott Walker and Republican senators used Koch brothers money to hold onto political power -- have asked, 'what's wrong with Wisconsin? First Russ Feingold is gone and now ... ?' A big part of the answer is the amount of money the Republicans, with their hands out, have at their disposal. Perhaps equally important is the fact that the Wisconsin broadcast and corporate media have buried the Walker-Tea Party-GOP corruption, a part of which is under investigation by the criminal John Doe probe. Consider today's print edition of the GOP's Wisconsin State Journal. Buried on page five under the small AP "Digest" is some four column inches of the news that Walker "adds money to legal defense fund." No quote from non-GOP sources (though) they are readily available. Just a Walker-slanted piece with a reference to Walker spokeswoman, Nicole Tieman, who is quoted with no knockdown that Walker needs the money to "cooperate" with John Doe authorities.

Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on the other hand, quotes Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski: "It is beyond belief at this point that Walker had no role in crimes that have led to the convictions of six aides and supporters. Time will tell what's in store for him."

News today that "Gov. Scott Walker transferred $40,000 in campaign funds late last year to his legal (criminal defense) fund," has renewed questions about whether Wisconsin citizens' governor is a crook.

The three-year John Doe probe into Scott Walker's rise to political power during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive has discovered a rat's nest of criminal activity and secured the convictions of the nucleus of Walker's political inner circle.

As for explanation from Scott Walker to the people of Wisconsin, no one in Wisconsin's formerly squeaky-clean political culture expects Walker to visit all (or any) of Wisconsin's 72 counties in listening sessions and say: Ask me anything. You deserve to know your governor is not a crook.

No one expects Walker to explain why he refused to publicly call upon his personally appointed former aides (now convicted felons) to simply tell the full truth to John Doe investigators working for the Milwaukee District Attorney's office.

As noted in today's column by Cognitive Dissidence, not one convicted felon who worked for Walker has come forward and publicly declared Walker's innocence of misusing his public office for political, private puposes—a felony.

This complete silence of the Walker gang, including those who pled guilty to felonies and have been sentenced is not demanded by the secrecy codicils of the John Doe proceedings.

Reads Wisconsin statute on Criminal Proceedings (968.26 on John Doe Proceedings):

Subject to s. 971.23, if the proceeding is secret, the record of the proceeding and the testimony taken shall not be open to inspection by anyone except the district attorney unless it is used by the prosecution at the preliminary hearing or the trial of the accused and then only to the extent that it is so used. A court, on the motion of a district attorney, may compel a person to testify or produce evidence under s. 972.08 (1). The person is immune from prosecution as provided in s. 972.08 (1), subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085.
Point is: Nothing prevents Walker or his gang from saying: 'Look, I'm innocent. This slander must stop. And Scott Walker surely is innocent of misuse of public office, in my view.'

Or Walker could have negotiated an immunity deal; saying in effect: Anyone is my past administration breaks the law; they get what they deserve.'

Walker took a different way.

Walker's response has been to hire a PR firm; become the first sitting Wisconsin governor in history to form a criminal defense fund; and continually mislead the Wisconsin people and the gullible press about why the John Doe Proceedings were begun in the first place—Walker's stonewalling.

John Doe proceeding can be kept secret even after convictions might be secured and the proceedings are declared to be ended.

But the presumption of innocence under the law, and the right to declare one's innocence live on. This right is not negated by John Doe proceedings.

Why is no one in this matter declaring their own or past colleagues' innocence?

Nov 28, 2012

Walker Probe Is to Determine If and When a Crime Was Committed

Rightwingers really live in their own world.

Like when they say the John Doe probe is now winding up. You know that how?

Republicans know perfectly well, I think, that the John Doe proceedings are over when the DA and presiding judge say the proceedings over, the whole point of the John Doe probe is to determine if and by whom crimes were committed.

As has been pointed out now, but never repeated by the corporate press, in Wisconsin, no one is ever told he or she is a 'target' of a John Doe investigation until he or she is charged with a crime, at which point being a target is readily apparent.

Telling a criminal suspect that he or she is a 'target' would, in the words of one jurist, "defeat the purpose" of a John Doe investigation.

Still Walker and his lackeys keep repeating Walker's I'm-not-a-target nonsense. You know that how?

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

The John Doe investigation began because Scott Walker covered up the crimes of his Milwaukee County Executive's office.

As Dan Bice reported in June 2012:

"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."

Scott Walker is the problem, and cause of the John Doe probe.

Jun 1, 2012

Scott Walker's Office Stonewalled DA Inquiry into Stolen Veterans' Funds

Hired, promoted and stonewalled for criminal aides.
Now, a desperate Scott Walker lies for his criminal aides.
Contradicting repeated statements by Scott Walker that he and his staff instigated the John Doe criminal investigation, a report filed last night (Bice. MJS) substantiates the assertion Walker and top aides stonewalled the Milwaukee District Attorney's office, prompting the creation of the John Doe probe.

The criminal probe has so far resulted in multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, and presents a dire threat to Scott Walker's surviving the recall election on June 5.

The DA probe was begun while Walker was serving as Milwaukee County Executive, and criminal complaints against top Walker aides allege and demonstrate that embezzled money in the $10,000s meant for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families was used by aides to Scott Walker and former operators of the website——to register the website.

The criminal complaints already filed also indicate that part of the embezzled money was used for Walker's aides' taking vacations in the "Caribbean and Hawaii, and a political trip to Georgia to help organize [Herman] Cain's Republican presidential campaign." (Bice. MJS)

Long-time Walker confidante, Tim Russell, said in August 2010 that the embezzled funds were a book-keeping error.

Reported Bice in 2010:

A couple of months ago, Russell said the Walker administration had asked Chisholm to investigate what had happened to $11,000 raised in 2007 for the event. The DA confirmed that his office was looking into the matter.

"Nobody's making accusations about anything here," Russell said in June. "Maybe there are records in somebody's bottom drawer that would demonstrate that money was appropriately spent."
Writes Bice today:

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.

By making it a secret John Doe investigation, Landgraf wrote that prosecutors might get better cooperation from Walker's office, which had been "unwilling or unable" to turn over records and information needed in the investigation. He said he would need to subpoena county records and officials.
Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe proceedings is the statutory authority for conducting John Doe probes in Wisconsin.

The purpose of a John Doe investigation is to determine if and by whom a crime has been committed in a given court's jurisdiction, by statute.

There are a very wide range of causes why a district attorney might request a judge to convene a John Doe proceeding: Conflicts of interest, practical difficulties, and so on.

Another cause is stonewalling.

Writes Bice:

"As part of the pre-Doe investigation, Investigator Jeffrey Doss sought to obtain documentation that would form the basis of tracing the funds from Milwaukee County to the Order, [a veterans' group safeguarding the veterans' fund]" Landgraf wrote in his May 2010 petition. "The Office of the County Executive has been unwilling or unable to provide such documentation. It is unclear at this juncture why the Office of the County Executive has not produced (or has not caused another Department to produce) these records."
Walker has throughout the campaign sought to dismiss the John Doe investigation, and brushed aside questions by saying he just wants to help and cooperate with the criminal investigation, lately calling it a "distraction."

Walker has even gone so far as to state that he and his office asked for the John Doe investigation.

Bice's obtained documents prove that Walker is a liar.

"The idea that Scott Walker did not know what was going in a ten person office…is absurd. It’s not believable,” Graeme Zielinski, the communications director of the Wisconsin Democratic Party said to Salon.

Said Tom Barrett to Scott Walker in the debate last night, "I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them."