May 28, 2014

Undercutting Scott Walker's Criminal Plea Bargaining

Update: Jason Stein, Patrick Marley and Bill Glauber report, "A legal civil war broke out Wednesday among targets of a John Doe probe, as a conservative group sought Wednesday to block prosecutors from having settlement talks with Gov. Scott Walker's campaign. In a letter sent Wednesday, the Washington, D.C., attorney representing the Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors questioned whether a special prosecutor in the case is negotiating with the GOP governor's campaign to seek concessions that the Club might oppose."

The AP has a source confirming discord among Scott Walker and "other parties caught up in" the John Doe investigation.

This likely means the parties who have been subpoenaed.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday in its opinion page: "We've [the Wall Street Journal] learned that Steven Biskupic, who represents Friends of Scott Walker, has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state's investigation. The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker's allies."

Actually, there are not "targets" in Wisconsin John Doe probes unless criminal charges are brought. John Doe probes are not grand jury proceedings.

The Wall Street Journal editorial sounds like a stern warning to Walker not to forget as the title of the piece reads, "Scott Walker's Friends."

So, who issued the warning? David Koch for his work on behalf of recalled Wisconsin state senators and Scott Walker in 2012? Apparently not.

It's a guessing game.

Biskupic—the former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Wisconsin (2001-08)—has launched some corrupt schemes before in service to the Republican Party and fouled them up, and he certainly has some fellow Republicans concerned now.

In February, Brendan Fischer reported, "Newly-unsealed court documents and media leaks add to a growing body of evidence that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign is at the center of a wide-ranging secret probe into campaign finance violations during the state's contentious 2011 and 2012 recall elections."

One possible explanation for why Republican sources are leaking to the media is their concern that Biskupic doesn't believe the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will sustain Judge Randa's decision and his May 8 finding of frivolousness, so Biskupic is simply trying to get the best deal possible for Walker.

As One Wisconsin Now opines: "If Gov. Walker was confident his campaign hadn't engaged in wrong-doing, he wouldn't be trying to cut a deal. It's not a coincidence that as the court is considering making thousands of secret documents public, Gov. Walker is suddenly negotiating. Gov. Walker has approached this unseemly affair the same way he governs and campaigns, which is to say he doesn't believe the rules apply to him."

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is composed of 14 judges, including two Republican-appointed judges—Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner who are generally regarded as geniuses utterly unconcerned with smashing the toes of litigants, if warranted.

Ten judges were appointed by Republican presidents, four by Democratic presidents.

The general perception of the Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit as leaning to the right may be far-off.

And the consensus opinion of Judge Rudolph Randa as having fallen off the deep end may be spot-on.

If Biskupic is giving Walker advice like this, seeking a plea bargain, Walker might wish to listen and so should Walker's friends, unless they see themselves as beyond the law or are deluded about what the law and specific judicial doctrine are as it applies to campaign finance.

Whatever is going on in Wisconsin Republican land, its John Doe probe is a partisan witch hunt line is about as credible as Scott Walker claiming to be an open, transparent and accessible governor.

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