Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Walkergate: The Leak-Proof Investigation

For months, Scott Walker's apologists and other employees of the Koch Brothers/Bradley Foundation/Sam Adams Alliance have done their darnedest in an effort to impugn the good name of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and to smear the fine men and women in his office who work diligently to see that justice is served. They have accused them of all sorts of tawdry, and utterly false, transgressions ranging from having a bias to questioning their professionalism to committing the illegal act of violating secrecy orders by "leaking" information.

They have even gone so far as trying to smear the Honorable Neal P. Nettesheim, the judge who is presiding over the Walkergate investigation.

Things had gotten so far out of hand that some of the most prestigious names in Wisconsin legal circles - including, but not limited to, Retired Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, retired Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann and former Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Jambois - penned a letter condemning these false attacks and smear jobs.

But the attacks continued, not because the slanderers had valid points, but because they were - and still are - afraid that their shooting star, Scott Walker, is truly a corrupt bastard and will face the consequences of all of his illegal activities.

Every time a new piece of information came out, radio squawkers like Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner and Vicki McKenna would squawk about the "leaks" and saying that the investigation was "leaking like a sieve."  They never offered any proof to support their allegations of illegal conduct.  Instead, they relied on the axiom that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will believe it.

After I wrote about the Russell Revelations, another round of accusations of leaks sprung up.

Let's take a look at these "leaks", shall we?

First of all, most of the information that has been reported comes from public records, like the number or criminal charges and other documents filed with the courts during the indictment and legal proceedings for the six people already charged and/or convicted.

But these are, by far, not the only sources of information.

From Marie Rohde's article on, we see that a lot of information came from Darlene Wink's attorney:

In response to Russell’s claim about the John Doe investigation being "not-so-secret," Landgraf also notes that while his office has been accused of leaking secret information, it was actually lawyers for defendants who contacted members of the media, at least once with Russell’s approval.

The motion also cites an email sent by John Hiller, Walker’s former campaign treasurer who headed up the guv's transition team in late 2010.

The motion reprints an email Hiller sent Walker on Sept. 26, 2010. In it he outlined a story that would appear the following Monday regarding the investigation. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Dan Bice, according to the email, said the story would focus on a railroad owner’s illegal campaign donations and was not a “blockbuster.”

Hiller said Bice also indicated that he got much of his information from Chris Weismueller, a lawyer representing Darlene Wink, a former county employee of Walker's who has pleaded guilty to doing campaign work on county time.

Bice said there was "nothing nefarious" in the sourcing for the story and that all of Weismueller's comments were on the record.

As for Hiller, Bice said Hiller contacted him after he called Walker for comment.
It's not surprising that Wesimueller would be talking.  He was between a rock and a hard place in trying to defend his client.  He took the approach of "Yeah, but look at what those guys did," in an effort to make his client appear innocence, or at least not as guilty as the other defendants.

We also see that Tim Russell's lawyers have been giving away information..  As I posted in the article about Russell's Revelations, one of his attorney's Michael Maistelman sent an email to squawk radio personality Charlie Sykes:

Rick Esenberg dismissed this email because Maistelman "heard" about some "gossip" that this was going to go down. (By the way, Mr. Esenberg, that bit of "gossip," as you quaintly put it, could have been a very educated guess based on my first article about Kelly Rindfleisch, which I wrote the day before the email and five days before Rindlfeisch and Wink were arrested.)

Again, that Maistelman would tweak Sykes about this should not be a surprise.  While Maistelman is a very competent attorney and represents clients from all over the political spectrum, he is also a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.  If he learned of something, say from a very popular liberal blog, he is going to naturally try to share that information with as many sources as possible.
John Chisholm
image courtesy of
Labor Press

We also need to keep in mind that, while there is a secrecy order associated with John Doe investigations, such as Walkergate, this only applies to the person's testimony, per se.  Since Maistelman never represented Wink or Rindfleisch, nor was present during their participation in the investigation, he is not bound by the secrecy order regarding them.

The real outrage with that aspect of the story is that Sykes continued to tell his fabricated and conflated complaints of there being so many "leaks."

And then there is Maistelman's colleague, Dennis Krueger. Krueger was the one that released the information, with Russell's permission, which showed that Walker was stonewalling the Walkergate investigation from the outset, refusing to release information to the DA's Office.

Krueger has a history of being overzealous in his cases, as evidenced in his participation in the criminal case against former Green Bay Packer tight end Mark Chmura:
Earlier in the day, Boyle tried to raise questions of misconduct when he questioned an assistant prosecutor.

Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Krueger, who was removed from Chmura's case last month so he could testify as a witness, said that he moved parts of a defense exhibit and he has watched parts of other testimony on television in alleged violation of a court order.

"I am offended," Boyle told the judge, after a heated cross-examination. "I think it goes to his motive, his bias and his involvement."

Bucher told the judge that Krueger had done nothing wrong.

"Mr. Boyle feels he has the right to trash anyone's reputation in the defense of his client. He's playing for the cameras," Bucher said.

"Let's bring it down a notch, both of you," Gempeler said.

Krueger was a prosecutor assigned to Chmura's case, but Gempeler removed him from the team so that he could testify about a meeting with key defense witness Michael Kleber.

Krueger testified that he and Bucher never coerced Kleber, a high school football star who attended the post-prom party, to change his original statement.
However, one can hardly accuse Krueger of playing partisan politics with his release of information. After all, when Krueger made an unsuccessful run for Waukesha County District Attorney, his release announcing his filing of papers included an endorsement by - wait for it - Scott Walker.

As the gentle reader can clearly see, there have been no "leaks" from this investigation.  A lot of the information has been gathered from public documents such as the criminal charges, subsequent motions and the grants of immunity, which by law has to be made public. Much of the information also comes from the lawyers themselves, with the expressed permission of their clients, in an effort to try to manipulate the outcomes for their clients.  Finally, the rest of the information comes from common knowledge and good old-fashion investigative reporting.

The only leaks involved with theWalkergate investigation involves the ones in the arguments that there are any leaks in the first place.


  1. They are a crafty lot aren't they? They drum up lies so their brain-dead listeners only hear that it's a Walker witch-hunt complete with all the trimmings.

    Like I told someone who tried claiming that Chisholm had nothing and was grasping at straws, there's no way anyone from the county would allow Chisholm to continue after this long and grant immunity to so many, if there wasn't a really big fish to fry, and who's trail ran so deep.

    Everyone has a boss, and I have to believe that Chisholm has show his boss just how big this truly is and therefore has been allowed to do a thorough and complete job. I have every confidence that some big names are going to be brought down. I just have less confidence that they'll be held accountable.

  2. Yeah. The RW tried this with Richard Nixon. Look where it got them. A disgraced President forced by his own party to resign, and, an RNC in disarray for decades. The RNC and conservative RW have not learned their lesson, and, Walker (plus, perhaps RNC's Reince?!!!) will be removed from politics. Personally, I'd love for Chisholm to take his time to get each and every high level GOP involved...just in time for the November elections.