Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Walkergate: Quote of the Day

Erik Gunn, writing for Milwaukee Magazine has a compelling and exhaustive look at Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Here's a rather tasty excerpt from this must read piece:
But one investigation has shone the brightest media spotlight on Chisholm. For more than two years, prosecutors under Chisholm’s command have been combing through Gov. Scott Walker’s tenure as Milwaukee County executive in a wide-ranging secret John Doe investigation. The probe has already produced criminal charges against six people, convictions of five, and incarcerations for two, with more expected.

Yet, in cases where the spotlight shines brightest, reality has sometimes been deeply distorted. Like so much else in these times of intense political polarization, the Walker investigation has spawned images of two fundamentally different universes.

On the left, Walker’s critics gleefully predict the governor’s downfall any day now. On the right, his champions point out that he’s not been charged with any crimes. Walker has stated publicly that he’s been told the investigation is not targeting him – a claim his opponents are unwilling to believe. For all the bravado of the governor’s critics, his allies are just as confident he will not merely survive, but thrive.

Conservative Republicans who back the governor, from talk-radio hosts to self-styled media watchdogs, have positioned the entire criminal probe as nothing more than naked politics. Chisholm, they note darkly, is a Democrat; the investigation, they insist, is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt, with Chisholm carrying water, in the words of Conservative Digest publisher Bob Dohnal, “to help his buddy Tom Barrett.”

Dohnal made the confident assertion last spring, not long before Milwaukee’s mayor lost to Walker a second time. That June recall election capped the long, fruitless campaign to oust the governor. But there are two problems with perceptions like Dohnal’s.

The first and most obvious is that the vote came and went without charges against the governor, despite the dire predictions of Walker’s supporters.

But that’s no surprise to the people who have known and worked with Chisholm over the last two decades. Because, more fundamentally, the other problem with the right’s Machiavellian caricature is that none of Chisholm’s large network of supporters see anything like him in it.

What they see instead is a relentlessly earnest and nonpartisan public official, regardless of his party label. Not a conniving prosecutor willing to indict the proverbial ham sandwich, but a sober student of history who wants to see law enforcement pay as much attention to prevention as to prosecution.

Chisholm shrugs off the attacks of Walker’s cheerleaders as the work of “propagandists.” “I don’t make decisions on whether a person’s a Democrat or a Republican or an independent,” he says. “I make decisions on whether I can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.”


  1. This article certainly could be read to interpret that walker will walk from this and that our legal system:

    1. cannot resolve complex political crimes that have powerful people behind them and nearly endless streams of funds for criminal defense.

    2. even if our legal system can hold high-level, well-financed criminals accountable for the crimes behind their ascent to power; our political system has no way to cleanse itself of the stench and illegitimate havoc and economic terrorism these criminals inflict on the rest of us and our democracy as a whole.

    Thanks for pointing this out, but I don't see as a "must read" nor as anything that, at this time, does any more than give people on both sides to proclaim that "see, Milw Mag said I was RIGHT!".

    Of course, if indictments for those that directly benefited from crimes low-level and stooooopid people committed appear to have been manipulated to commit, then this article does put things on the record before the serious anti-walkergate propaganda comes.

    And we all know that, in the case of indictment, the screeching media shills will howl unlike even the pro-walker 24/7 promos they spew now.

  2. If Walker wasn't involved, he'd (1) say "I'm innocent". He can't, so he won't, so he's guilty. And, (2) if Walker were innocent, he'd hand over a formal letter from the DA clearing him. Again, he can't, so he won't, so he's guilty.

    Remember, it took 48 months for Blagojevich to be charged. When convicted, he was sent to prison for 14 years. We're only at about month 24 for the Walker investigation.

    I've got all the patience in the world to put Scott Walker behind bars...I hope for at least 14 years...

    1. I sure hope you're right. I'm waiting for the day!!!

  3. “I don’t make decisions on whether a person’s a Democrat or a Republican or an independent,” he says. “I make decisions on whether I can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Now compare that to the actions of former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic who spuriously prosecuted Georgia Thompson for the sole purpose of creating a phoney political scandal that could be used to smear Governor Doyle in an election year. It's not pretty.

    Unfortunately, Biskupic is representative of most Republican prosecutors, who put Party above the law and the Constitution, who over-prosecute so as to run-up up a body-count that can be bragged about at election time.

    1. To be fair Biskupic did that also to keep his job. if you were not prosecuting any democrat you could find for whatever reason, Karl rove fired you.

  4. I read the article as a biographical piece on Chisholm and it underscored the idea that Chisholm is nonpartisan, according to everyone who knows him, including Republicans. That is the idea I got from the article.

  5. I don't see anything juicy in here, just basically an article about how non-partisan Chisholm is. Am I missing something?