Sunday, November 24, 2013

Walkergate 2: John Doe's Chess Game

Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a column up celebrating the fact that the Teapublicans are trying to bully their way out of the latest developments of the Walkergate investigations.  To put it kindly, it is not his best work.

First off, he compares the right's reaction to the investigation now to when the first Walkergate was going on:
The first time Milwaukee County prosecutors launched a secret criminal investigation of allies of Gov. Scott Walker, those on the right were largely silent.

There were no online attacks, no litigation and few talk-radio rants — until charges were filed. Conservatives took their lead from the governor, who said he would trust the process to clear him.

A new investigation has triggered a wholesale change in tactics.

Last month, No Quarter first reported that prosecutors had launched a second John Doe investigation into the recall elections. The response from the right has been swift and aggressive.
I can speak to personal knowledge that that assertion by Bice is inaccurate. Even before the John Doe investigation - which ended up with convictions of Walker's staff and associates - had even become public knowledge, Walker and his supporters were on the offensive.

 And I was their target.  And there were the usual attacks from Sykes and company, complaining that Walker's staff was being prosecuted and I wasn't, while ignoring the fact that I hadn't committed any criminal acts.

Bice also notes that these money laundering/propaganda groups are bringing out big guns in their effort to disrupt the proceedings.  Again, this is nothing new.  Walker had big guns in to defend him and his campaign during the original investigation.  What would be more interesting - and probably much more telling - would be who is funding these high priced defense attorneys.  I'm sure if I gave the gentle reader three guesses, with the first two not counting, they could still get it correct.

Heck, even the notion of running interference and trying to disrupt the proceeding is nothing new.  During the first round, these faceless entities gave money to the misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government and former Walkersha County District Attorney Paul Bucher so that they could run a seminar on how to attack John Doe proceedings.

Well, as much as the Teapublicans might be cheering on this offensive offense and the heavy hitter attorneys, it's not doing them too much good.  As the attorneys have thrown everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to stop the investigations, they have come up pitifully short:
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals declined late Friday to temporarily halt a secret investigation of campaign fundraising and spending during Wisconsin's recent recall elections.

The court also immediately denied the requests of three unnamed petitioners to have the judge in the case disqualified because of his status as a reserve judge and to prohibit the judge and special prosecutor in the case from using a post office box instead of local court clerks. But the court granted the anonymous plaintiffs' request to file a sealed petition and asked for more information before it decides on several more claims by the people caught up in the probe.

The court's order also made clear for the first time what the unnamed petitioners are arguing. In a half-dozen claims in their sealed filings, the plaintiffs are arguing that the judge and special prosecutor in the case don't have the authority to carry out the secret probe that is ranging across five counties in southern Wisconsin.

The unsigned order was issued by three judges on the District 4 Court of Appeals: Brian Blanchard, Paul Lundsten and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

"Given our outright denial of two of the petitioners' six claims, and the uncertain factual basis for the remaining four claims, we are not persuaded that a stay is warranted," the order reads.
David "Chokehold" Prosser
Jud Lounsbury thinks that this new aggressiveness by the Teapublicans is a precursor to have the whole Son of Doe investigation brought before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  He accurately points out that the make up of the appellate court made it unlikely they would succeed but it was a formality they had to go through to get it to the higher court, where justices like David Prosser, whom, we just learned, was getting money and other aid from these right wing groups during his election, would make a decision.  We all pretty much know that the four corporate owned justices sitting on the high court already have shown they are not going to give a damn about the law unless it came from ALEC.

Indeed, the Franklin's Center's Wisconsin Reporter - two groups that are probably part of the investigation - is reporting that one of the lawyers, Dean Strang, asked for the case to go directly to the Supreme Court.

On a side note, Lounsbury also has a post showing Walker on the Sean Hannity Show, stating that this is the first time he's hearing or seeing of these investigations or legal proceedings.  This is hilarious given the fact that since the initial reports came out, his campaign as been noted as one of the targets.  I guess cooperating doesn't include knowing what he is cooperating with.

I believe Lounsbury analysis is sound, but incomplete.  If I were the investigators and/or prosecutors for this investigation, I would be counting on and hoping for the Teapublicans to take it to the  Supreme Court.

Consider these facts:

  • The special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, used to be a federal prosecutor.
  • FBI agents have been used in the raids on suspects' homes.
  • FBI agents have assisted with going through the computers for emails and other documents.
  • As reported by Lisa Kaiser of the Shepherd Express, this money laundering crosses state lines.
It's pretty obvious that if the feds aren't actively involved with the investigation that they are monitoring it very closely.  So if the Teabaggers go running to their puppets in the Supreme Court, things could get very interesting.  

On one hand, the puppet justices might throw their benefactors under the bus and actually uphold the law.  They don't want to be tied up with this mess anymore than they already are.  On the other hand, if they go along with their benefactors, the justices could very well get swept up when and if the feds cast their nets and haul them in.

What I get out of the aggressiveness of the Teapublicans legal maneuverings and the heavy spin they are already putting on it is that they are indeed scared to death.  And they are not scared of just the legal consequences for their illegal behaviors, but that as this information comes out, it will not only severely cripple their attempt at buying elections, but that this will also spread like wildfire from state to state where they have been tampering with democracy.

In this game of legal chess, it looks like the good guys have the bad guys in a potential checkmate.  


  1. Brilliant analysis. Thanks.

  2. With the five different Does, several of these are in counties where the DA and Chief Judge who normally instigate or approve the investigation would be Republicans. Does anyone know if this is the case or how the Does were created?

    1. The Doe was initiated in Milwaukee, but they appointed a Republican as the special prosecutor. As for the judges, only one has been identified on the circuit court level, but I know nothing about him.

  3. You don't want your donors arrested.

    I can't think of a better reason to shut a legal defense fund.

  4. I think if they look real close at that defense fund they will find every one in the John Doe.....Good luck crooks. I hope your time is coming soon!!!!!

  5. Great work. Thanks for all your hard work in this long and often time, frustrating spasm of justice.