Thursday, May 29, 2014

Walkergate: John Doe's Roller Coaster

Now that the unofficial start of summer is here, amusement parks are advertising their latest attractions, including the latest in roller coasters.  But no matter how many twists, turns, loops or steep drops the roller coaster might have, it pales in comparison to the events of the John Doe investigations into Scott Walker and his campaign, known as Walkergate.

There was the initial short climb of hope as Walker's cronies and lackeys, such as Darlene Wink, Kelly
Rindfleisch and Tim Russell were arrested and charged.  There were small spins and dips as, one by one, each of Walker's cronies took a plea deal, hoping that this was the one that make that big turn on Walker and rat him out.

But it appeared that this particular ride was not going to live up to expectation when the cases ended and it looked like Walker was going to walk.

In the first major corkscrew, just when it looked like the ride was over, we learned of a new John Doe - or more accurate, the Sons of Doe, which was spread over five counties and could be targeting as many as 30 separate conservative front groups, campaigns and individuals.


Oh, but there's more.

The conservatives at the heart of the investigation tried to turn the tables on the good guys.  They through everything but the kitchen sink at the prosecutors.  They tried to stop the investigation, they sued the prosecutors, they took their case to the court of public opinion.

It looked like the bottom fell off the ride and it was over again.

But then the prosecutors added a few more twists and turns to the ride, turning the tables on Walker and company.  They said OK, let's put all the cards on the table.  In a surprise twist, they even put the original emails and other documents out as public documents, if Chris Abele ever decides to stop providing cover for his hero and mentor, Scott Walker.

Now, the Koch front groups seem to have the upper hand again.

Eric O'Keefe, head of the misnamed Wisconsin Club for Growth, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the prosecutors.  Federal Judge Rudolph Randa, who had gotten slapped around by the appellate court for overreaching his authority, is still trying to wreak havoc on the investigation.

I would advise the gentle reader not to fret too much.  Keep in mind that O'Keefe's complaint is so riddled with falsehoods and irrelevancies that it wouldn't hold up in any other court.  Also keep in mind that Randa is looking to be as corrupt as the rest of them, having heard the case even though the wife of Scott Walker's attorney works for him, or that Randa's wife is a big time donor to Scott Walker or that Randa himself has gone on junkets paid for by the same people that pay O'Keefe and these other front groups.

As I said, it looks like the conservatives have the upper hand.  Appearances can be deceiving.

In a bit of block buster news, providing a blind turn on this roller coaster, the conservatives have leaked that it appears that Walker has been working behind the scenes to reach a plea deal with the prosecutors per accusations made in a Wall Street Journal editorial:
Until now, the newspaper's editorial page has defended Walker against what it says is an unconstitutional violation by prosecutors of his campaign's free speech rights. In Wednesday's editorial, the newspaper attacked Walker, alleging that his attorney was negotiating with prosecutors at a time when they are facing legal setbacks.

"Sounds like Mr. Walker has to decide whose side he's on — his own, or the larger principles he claims to represent," the editorial reads.

A source with knowledge of the probe confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that other conservatives caught up in the probe are worried that the attorney for the Walker campaign, Steven Biskupic, is not being aggressive enough with prosecutors and not acting in their best interests.


"While the Club fights for its First Amendment rights to speak out on the issue, the Walker campaign apparently seeks to negotiate a settlement with the prosecutors that will keep the issue out of the spotlight," Rivkin said. "This shouldn't be surprising: The business of political campaigns is to elect candidates, but the business of issue advocacy groups is to advance policy beliefs, plain and simple. The John Doe prosecutors still don't understand this fact, even when proof of it is staring them in the face from across the negotiating table."


The Wall Street Journal urged Walker not to engage in any possible settlement talks with prosecutors who "need a face-saving legal exit."

"Mr. Walker is facing a rough re-election fight this year, and perhaps he and his lawyers want to remove any chance of a September or October legal surprise," the editorial reads. "Mr. Walker might think he can help himself with a settlement, but he'd be letting down his allies if he did so in a way that lets the bogus theory of illegal coordination survive....Mr. Walker is a hero to many for his fight against public unions, but he will tarnish that image if he sells out the cause for some short-term re-election reassurance."
I hope that the gentle reader is susceptible to motion sickness.  This is one helluva ride!

Now, there is no saying whether Walker is or isn't involved in a plea deal.  But it would fit his modus operandi.  Remember how he was more than willing to throw Tim Russell under the bus when he became more of a liability than an asset to his political aspirations.

Undoubtedly, Walker is feeling a lot of pressure right now.  He's tied with a relatively unknown candidate, despite all of the political stunts he's pulled and the millions of dark money that's already pouring into the state to support him.  On top of that, he's facing the potential release of the original Walkergate emails and documents.  No amount of spin is going to put lipstick on that pig for Walker.

This could not only blow his gubernatorial reelection but shatter his hope for any kind of presidential bid.  And judging by his pathetic book sales numbers, it's not very likely he could successfully emulate his friend Sarah Palin by doing book tours through Teapublican states.

But the one thing that is crystal clear is that the big money groups behind dark money groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth is that they will not tolerate any backstabbing or double dealing from Walker.  The implied threat is undeniable.  Apparently they felt a horse head in Walker's bed might have been too subtle.

But the dark money groups should not be surprised that Walker would be capable of doing what he felt necessary and his own best interest.  We on the left has known Walker was a weasel for years.

It's pretty safe to say that the gentle reader should stock up on popcorn. There is surely more to come.  There is always more.

And keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times.

ADDENDUM: Walker came back firing from the him with this succinct press release:
The Friends of Scott Walker campaign today released the following statement:

Neither Governor Walker nor his campaign committee are parties to the federal lawsuit. This means they have no legal standing to reach a settlement or deal in their lawsuit.
What a very typical non-answer from Walker. But it does mean he's going to try to sell his benefactors out to save his own pelt.

In other words, the weasel wants to become a rat!


  1. You neglect to mention and then leak to all of your walkergate boasts and proclaimations -- all off-base.

    How 'bout that "dumpster of fun"?

    1. I guess we'll find out what might have been on that dumpster since Abele announced tonight that he'll be releasing the emails as soon as he gets judicial guidance.

      No wonder why Scotty might want to settle and screw others....

    2. Jake, thanks.

      From the JS:

      "...Abele will be responsible for disseminating them to anyone who requests them, but he said he won't decide exactly how he will handle requests until Nettesheim enters a written order detailing what records will be turned over to the county.

      "I want to share whatever I can responsibly share as quickly as I can," Abele said.

      He said he was hoping for as much guidance as possible from the judge so he would know if he could turn over all the records immediately to the public or if he would have to review them the same way he does other records requests to make sure medically sensitive information and other private information is not released.

      Abele said he was considering hiring outside lawyers to speed up the review of the records.

      "I believe in public access and I believe in protecting privacy," he said. "There's so much gray area. I want to be efficient, I want to be responsible, I want to get it right."

      Abele said he saw no reason to appeal Nettesheim's decision making the records public."...

      Congrats to Capper and all the others who has been pushing on this.

    3. How about that dumpster of fun huh? How about the big crap WSJ is taking on your boy wonder. If boy wonder didn't have anything to hide why is his rat faced attorney negotiating right now?? Why is WSJ publically backing boy wonder into a corner?? This will come out 1 way or another and it will be the best day EVER!!!!! To see Scott Walker be exposed for the POS he is will have been worth that last 4 years of having a mental midget run WI into the ground.

  2. I'm sorry, I don't understand gibberish.

  3. "Apparently they felt a horse head in Walker's bed might have been too subtle."

    Great line.

  4. The WSJ editorial looks an awful lot like the comments that get made on the Chicago Tribune website in the Mafia cases- "Shut uppa your mouth". The Koch Brothers are now using Mafia tactics. Could the WSJ get nailed for witness intimidation?

  5. Based on Walker's press release, maybe they aren't negotiating a settlement for the illegal coordination, but there is yet another investigation that we don't know about yet. It wouldn't surprise me too much.

  6. Anon at 11:28, interesting thought. AFAIK, WSJ's Editorial board is Paul Gigot and ????. The oligarchs couldn't get the WSJ newsroom to report what they wanted as "anonymous" sources, so they had to use the editorial page as their mouthpiece. IANAL, but imho the first step in any process would be to depose Gigot and other members of the editorial board about phone calls/meetings they had just prior to releasing this editorial. At that point imho there would be ample room for Gigot and others to hide behind laws which are supposed to protect reporters such as Capper, who do great work.

    Worth at least 1/2 of what you paid for it.

  7. In mid-May prosecutors issued a number of appeals of Randa's last ruling, all presided over by the Chicago 7th District Court three judge panel. Randa's order to return and destroy copies of evidence was halted, but the appeals are still being reviewed by the panel, including whether the Doe prosecutors' case is "frivolous" or not.
    Wisconsin Club for Growth arranged for this legal attack on the Doe prosecutors. They have really pulled out the big guns in hiring David B. Rivkin to lead their case. Rivkin serves on the Federalist Society International Law executive committee, also publishing a number of books:
    In 2010, Rivkin led a multi-state lawsuit that consisted of 26 state AGs (including J.B. Van Hollen) to nullify health care reform legislation, the ACA, signed into law by President Barack Obama.
    How is the Wisconsin Club for Growth case being paid for? Through who?
    With Rivkin coming out publicly to question Biskupic's representation of Scott Walker (Biskupic's wife being Randa's assistant), it may be that they all are in panic mode because they aren't expecting to get the same sweetheart ruling that Randa issued out of the three judge panel.
    Looks bad for Wisconsin Club for Growth, as well as Walker and his campaign.

  8. Notice he said not a party to the federal case... that's differentiation meant to pacify.