Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walkergate: Still Waters Run Deep

I have heard and seen a lot of comments indicating a general unrest regarding Walkergate, the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker, his campaign staff and his other campaign staff otherwise known as his administration as Milwaukee County Executive and now as governor.

The vast majority of the comments are dealing with despair and frustration that the investigation isn't going faster, that Walker hasn't been arrested, indicted, tarred and feathered and locked up in the hoosegow for the rest of his life already.

I can appreciate their frustration. But I would also counsel them to be patient. Remember that it took four years for them to nail Blago for what he did, and his crimes weren't as vast or as complex as those of Walker and his crew.

Furthermore, it is far better that the prosecutors present the strongest case they can rather than try to rush things and get it fouled up, letting the bad guys get off without even as much as a slap on the wrist.

I would also remind my frustrated and impatient friends that still waters run deep. While there might not seem to be a lot going on, at least at the surface, there is a lot of things happening where we can't see them as readily.

For instance, there has been some filings in recent days in Kelly Rindfleisch's case. It's unclear from the court records exactly what is being filed, but it appears that the DA's Office is building its case against Rindfleisch.

Also, on this past Monday, Brian Pierick was back in court. He entered his not guilty plea and is set for a jury trial at the end of the year. Also, the Court modified his conditions of release by allowing him use of the Internet for things like work, contacting his family, reading the news and blogs about his alleged crime and so forth. He is still not supposed to have contact with anyone under 18 years old or with the victims and witnesses in the case.

On Wednesday afternoon, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice held an online Q&A session. While there wasn't anything earth-shattering coming out of it, Bice did confirm that Tim Russell is having money troubles:
Q: Scott, Wauwatosa - Why does Walker's ex-aide keep switching lawyers? What's the latest in the case against his boyfriend?
A: Daniel Bice - Simple answer: money. Tim Russell, one of Scott Walker's closest allies, cannot afford a top-notch criminal defense attorney. Steve Hurley, a very good criminal defense lawyer in Madison, likes to tell potential clients: "Remember that rainy day fund you set aside? Take a look - it's pouring outside."
Of course, this is an issue I've been bringing up for some time now.

Where Bice and I do vary in our coverage of Walkergate is that Bice states he doesn't know if Walker will be indicted. While anything is possible, it is also pretty obvious that there is strong evidence that they will most likely do so.

Bice's colleague, Jason Stein, also has a story up regarding Walkergate. Stein reports that the investigation has expanded to Walker's gubernatorial office, as evidenced by an Open Records Request focusing on Walker's top people.

But Stein is a little sloppy in his reporting:
A secret probe into those around Gov. Scott Walker has continued after the June 5 recall election and expanded beyond Milwaukee County and into state government, new records show.

The documents show that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm's office continues its John Doe investigation into Walker's administration even as the inquiry has gone publicly quiet over the summer.

The records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel through an open records request show that a Milwaukee County prosecutor sought personnel records from Walker's office and another state agency in June and then met with a top state lawyer the next day.

It was unclear why Chisholm's office was seeking the documents, and there's no indication at all from the records turned over by the Walker administration that any crime or impropriety was committed at the state level. Jocelyn Webster, a spokeswoman for Walker's office, said she didn't know why prosecutors wanted them.

"We obviously treat it as any other open records request and try to make sure we are as responsive as we can possibly be," Webster said.
Well, first off all, this isn't exactly new ground. I was first to break the news of the investigation in Madison on June 3, just days before the recall election. I wrote about it again, using some evidence found by Scott Wittkopf to confirm this.

We also know from Cory Liebmann's struggles with Walker's county administration that he is not exactly very cooperative with Open Record Requests. Transparency is not one of Walker's top priorities, hence the secret router.

It could very well be that they are checking to see if Walker's administration is being upfront about their practices, to rule out things like more bid rigging, pay for play or even legitimate government business being done via private emails. I wouldn't be surprised if the prosecutors already have the emails and are seeing if Walker would try to hide it from them. That is why the investigator included the language about "email on whatever account or system or any other method of communication on this subject."

What I find most disappointing about Stein's article isn't anything he did, but that neither the records request nor the packet in response to it has been published by the paper. It would be good to be able to see it. After all, the local paper still hasn't even mentioned Walker's email giving away the fact that not only was he aware of the illegal campaigning and other activities but was directing it.

We do have access to the records request from another source. Ironically, it is from Media Trackers, who wrote about the matter in an effort to discredit the investigation. What they managed to do though is confirm that the investigation has expanded to Madison and that it is around the secret emails and/or about using private emails for doing state business, just like Paul Ryan and the Fitzgerald boys did with the gerrymandering.

As I said at the beginning of this article, many of the people expressing their dissatisfaction with the pace of the investigation are doing so because of their longing to see justice finally prevail. But others, like that propagandist at Media Trackers, are feeling a different kind of stress from the ongoing investigation.

They are worried not just about what a Walker indictment would do their assault on the state and its citizens. They are also concerned, or at least they oughta be, that this could expand outward and upward, tainting the likes of Reince Priebus.

But what they are most likely afraid of is Walker being charged with something in the next two months. Because if he is, this is the picture you will see the most:

Picture courtesy of WISGOP


  1. Chisholm has 125 ADA’s and I don’t know how big the support staff is. About half of his entire office has been hot on this trail since Walker took office. All they have is one measly misdemeanor conviction and two underlings facing felony charges. I’m betting neither is convicted of anything more serious than jaywalking. Meanwhile, back at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, Chishom, et. al “missed” 1,500 opportunities to enter the courtroom with real felony charges for crimes actually committed within the City of Milwaukee. There doesn’t seem to be even a single case in that pile where an ADA actually picked up his phone, called the arresting officer and asked, “What went down?“ That’s an awesome bunch you guys have doing your bidding in Milwaukee.

    1. You guys? Doing our bidding? Who is "you guys"? The people of the state of Wisconsin? Do you think everyone who reads this blog knows eachother?

    2. Do you think that blog writers control Chisholm?

      You are mistaken. As a matter of fact, the case is interesting in the same way that gossip about a boss is interesting. People are interested in what goes on at the top. People are also interested in crime stories, especially when they involve unpopular politicians. That is reality, whether you like it or not.

  2. Actually, there have been two convictions and there are four trials going on. But you are so scared and/or so ignorant that you can't face the truth and so must make up your own stories or admit that you're in full with a bunch of thugs and criminals.

  3. Actually, cap, you're not quite correct about Bice's remark. His answer - that he didn't think Walker would be indicted - was in response to the question of whether Walker would face any FEDERAL indictments. It may be a nickpicky distinction in wording, but there is a difference in reality.

    The emails made public so far indicate that there is enough evidence to charge him with overseeing an operation in which county employees broke state campaign laws. What we haven't seen is much that leads one to believe Robles could get a federal indictment...

  4. WATF, it's so bad that Romney didn't even consider Walker for VP. Walker would have been a much better choice than Ryan. He carries none of the massive federal baggage that Paul does.

  5. Thanks for the update on Walkergate. I can understand that the wheels of justice drive much slower than we want but everything must be thoroughly checked out.

  6. Why just yesterday I was wondering what happened to John Doe. Thanks for the update. I have a feeling we may not see anything happen until after the elections; certainly not at the federal level. After all, we are inside the magic window of 90 days before an election where the Feds self-sensor and do not indict pols in this time frame. The addition of Rayn into the gerrymandering scheme will insure no Fed involvement until after. I also think the Dem takeover of the Senate may have added additional information to the investigation.

  7. I also thought that perhaps the recent email requests might be to rule out or eliminate possibilities.

    1. I have a hard time believing that Walker, et al, would continue the same type of alleged corruption at the state that they were being investigated for at the county level. But I also wouldn't have predicted that someone who had gotten immunity in one scandal would try to use that immunity in defense of another similar situation. I would've thought that once the scandal occurred, that those involved would be kept out of politics, not recruited. So my thoughts on this are only speculation.

  8. What kinds of diseases and viruses can you get from following the links to mediatraKKKers?