Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beware The False Walkergate Story!

There is, unfortunately, a false report being spread like wildfire about Scott Walker and five of his cronies being charged in the Walkergate investigation immediately after the recall election. This story should not be believed.

The story is by H. Nelson Goodson of Hispanic News Network USA:
On Friday, investigative information released by a reliable source indicated that Governor Scott Walker (R) and up to five others in the governor’s circle while he was Milwaukee County executive will be facing several felony charges resulting from the John Doe investigation. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office (DA) is expected to file charges against Walker and five other suspects on allegations that they used county time to campaign to help elect Walker as governor while working and restricted other Walker employees from exposing alleged unethical acts to the DA probe.

So far, at least six former Walker staffers have been charged in the John Doe investigation, including one that is waiting sentencing, but has been postpone to prevent an influence of the June election.

The DA and Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered an underground e-mail network being operated by Walker staffers in an office adjacent to Walker’s Milwaukee County Executive office. Walker denied that he had any knowledge of the underground e-mail operation to elect him governor.

Walker has set up a defense fund and has hired attorneys. Speculation about Walker being charged in the John Doe probe has been circulating throughout political circles in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Some GOP members doubt that Walker would be charged at all, but if the information proves to be reliable then indeed Walker and five others are facing charges that will no doubt set the GOP back on its agenda to make Wisconsin a Red state.
This story is at best unverified and unverifiable and at worst, a garbage post full of lies that I believe is set as a boobytrap to interfere with the recall election and John Doe investigation known as Walkergate.

First of all, consider the source.  Goodson, and the Hispanic News Network, is the same source that was claiming that there were sufficient signatures gathered in early December.  Many saw this as a thinly-veiled attempt to short circuit the signature gathering phase of the recall be getting people to stop early.

Goodson is also a known associate of Aaron Rodriguez, another pseudo-journalist who has blogged for Scott Walker's 2010 campaign and tried to misinform people regarding the actions of Walker's inner office staff, denying that they were doing anything illegal.

And consider this: If this story was true, would it be only found on a right wing site? Methinks that the Dems, the unions and Team Barrett would be screaming it from the rooftops.

Now, let's parse the story.

Goodson doesn't identify his source, which might be fine on the face of it, except that Goodson does not have a history of breaking news, much less reporting news accurately.  But besides that, Goodson uses extremely vague allegations regarding what the alleged crimes are or who the other people are involved, which only makes the story more suspect.

Goodson's poor reporting is evident with the claim that "six Walker staffers" have been charged.  This is a false statement.  Only three of Walker's aides - Tim Russell, Kelly Rindfleisch and Darlene Wink - have been charged so far.

The other three people never worked for Walker directly.  Brian Pierick helped with Walker's campaign, but never worked for Walker per se.  Kevin Kavanaugh was a political appointee of Walker's, but again, never worked for him directly.  The third, William Gardner, is a railroad tycoon, for heaven's sake, and was convicted of making illegal campaign donations.

Goodson is also inaccurate in saying the FBI helped discover the secret router system.  They have helped get evidence in searches of people's homes, like Cindy Archer's, and have helped analyze the data coming from the confiscated computers, but did not help find the router.

I have reason to believe that this is an effort to hurt the recall election as well as the Walkergate investigation.    I believe that Goodson is trying to mislead the reader to think that A) there's no sense in voting because Walker's going to jail anyway and B) the Walkergate investigation is nothing more than a political stunt to hurt Walker and that they are leaking information like a sieve.

If we don't oust Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch, and he does get indicted, we are looking at Governor Kleefisch.  She will not only continue with the ALEC agenda of making Wisconsin a right-to-work-for-less state but she will probably pass a law that all floor lamps and end tables have to be draped in heavy cloth so people don't fall in love and want to marry them.

And despite the right's repeated attempts to smear Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, his staff and the investigation, they have yet to do more than offer vulgar innuendo which is unsubstantiated.  But, like Goodson, their job isn't to prove anything is wrong, just to give people the doubt in the proceedings.

In summary, be careful of what information you believe and share with others.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  There is enough factual evidence regarding Walker, whether it's about his criminal activity in Walkergate or the atrocities he has done to our great state, that we don't need to go chasing after falsities like these, no matter how alluring they might be.

That said, I do believe that Walker and several others will be indicted, but I have no idea as of when.  All indications point to it being after the election, but that could change if Chisholm feels his case is solid enough to proceed, or something happens that makes him feel that the case could be jeopardized otherwise.

And you know damn well that Dan Bice and/or I will be breaking that story.

Until that time, or even after, if you hear a story and aren't sure (i.e. it didn't come from me), drop me a line. I might not be able to answer right away due to being at work and whatnot, but I'll be glad to help.

But to tide you over until the day justice comes, we can also look at this picture of Walker and his new cufflinks:


  1. Thanks Capper. Great reporting, as per usual. Wingnuts tried the same thing during the Scooter Libby administration. Tremendous expectations that the prosecutor, Pat Fitzgerald, would indict Karl Rove. One by one, all the major news outlets went with badly sourced rumors. The only holdout was Firedoglake, who refused to confirm. Their readers were screaming at them. You've broken all the biggest scoops on this story, why won't you break this one? Very simple. The story was wrong. Rove was never indicted.

  2. Scooter Libby trial, not administration.

  3. I posted this article in my newsfeed on Facebook and did not delete it after much histrionics about it and the supposed need to do so because, while it is unsourced and dubious for various reasons, if it is an attempt to smear the MKE DA, it is a very poor job. My first thought on reading it was, how cautious and circumspect of the DA to wait until after the election to announce any indictments, since to do so before the election would inevitably invite a vicious round of denunciations from the reich-wing blogosphere and everyone else with dogs on that side of the fight. After reading your column here, I'm still not convinced. I certainly don't see why anyone would choose not to vote because indictments might be forthcoming.

    1. With all due respect, you're just the type of person that they are targeting. Thank you for making things harder for all of us.

  4. Is the post about Walkergate or Watergate?

    I hope it goes like Watergate when it is done, but it hasn't yet.

  5. Are you the one who posted this crappy rumor on Daily Kos, too?

    Take down that diary. Be responsible.

  6. Great work, Chris.

    I did leave a comment on the blog entry in question, asking the author about the sources or just more information. There was never a reply, instead my comment was deleted.

    VERY dubious, to say the least.


  7. I reposted but deleted when I found out it might not be true. Let's wait until it is confirmed one way or another before we post anything on this.

  8. Are you familiar with Richard Gerrig's work? If not, you have done an excellant job of putting in peoples minds that Walker is under criminal charges whether he is or not.

  9. Thank you for stopping the rumor, Capper. It was fun to dream, but none of us need to stoop to the level of lying. We have enough truth behind us. I, like many of your readers, look to you for the truth. Thank you for providing it.

  10. Walker will not be charged until the DA and Judge are confident that they have the complete picture. Corrupt political operations typically have many tentacles. Every time someone is granted immunity their testimony brings more players into the frame, which means the investigation gets extended.

    The authorities are not going to rush indictments only to later discover they missed some of the miscreants or failed to uncover facts that would weigh against some charges being filed. They are trying to make sure they get it right. This is called integrity, a concept our Wisconsin Republicans unfortunately are no longer familiar with.

  11. Good work on this. When I first read this yesterday, I immediately checked with you before posting anywhere else. You have earned the respect of many readers as the go-to source on Walkergate.

    Which begs the question, what is the connection between Goodson and Walker, WIGOP, or other right wing groups? Is he motivated by ideology or money perhaps?

  12. I hadn't even heard the first rumor, but good work on cutting this of Capper. The GOP is clearly terrified of the huge Milwaukee and Madison early voting turnouts and trying to use any diversion they can. Don't fall for it these last 9 days.

    But I wouldn't count on Dan Bice reporting anything on Walkergate between now and June 5. His editors at the J-S have clearly ordered him off the case, and instead are telling him to do 'union power' stories to play into the hands of TMJ radio and the 262 trailer trash that the J-S panders to

  13. The HNNUSA blog seems to have been re-written.

  14. Smell tests:
    1) Swiftboating of Kerry, and Rather.
    2) Libby / Rove story, as above by J. Casper
    3) the TGTBT factor combined with unsubstantiated sources, and based on leaks of *future* developments.
    The latter aspect supports the theory the story was a plant (i.e. sucker-bait) intended to undermine the DA's investigation as much as the recall effort. Why would the DA leak word of coming indictments but wait until after the election? They wouldn't - when they have the evidence, they'll announce charges.
    But planting such a sensational story is certainly a sign of panic and desperation. Expect more histrionics until it's over.