Abele's willful failure to perform his duties had become so egregious that the Milwaukee County Board, in a move spearheaded by Supervisor John Weishan, passed a resolution saying that Abele should do his job.
Now, seven months after my first call for Abele to do his job, the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has finally figured it out as well:
But on Tuesday, county corporation counsel Paul Bargren said Abele could not release the documents because he doesn't have them and the decision to release them should be left to the judge. On Friday, Abele told us that he had essentially asked the judge, "Whatever you can release, please release." And that, if Nettesheim feels he can, he should release the records directly to the Journal Sentinel.Wait! What?! Did you catch that?!
In the district attorney's office's response to the Journal Sentinel's request for return of the records, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf said the Journal Sentinel has no standing to ask for the records, at least partly because Abele hasn't asked for them, and that the records should remain under lock and key because they were once part of a secret investigation.
Those are bogus stances. Abele could — and should — make his request stronger. He should say in no uncertain terms that the records the Journal Sentinel is seeking belong to the public and should be released to the public. Merely saying he doesn't have the records is insufficient. Abele says he's an advocate for transparent government, and he has been in other cases. He can demonstrate that by asking for these records, as the County Board has asked. The judge may disagree; certainly, the district attorney's office will disagree. But if he is the open government advocate he claims to be, Abele should put more pressure on the judge rather than just leaving it up to Nettesheim.
And that, if Nettesheim feels he can, he should release the records directly to the Journal Sentinel.So Abele claims to have made some weak call for the release of the emails and documents but then says the court should just give them over to the paper.
On second thought, maybe that isn't so shocking. Abele, like his BFF and mentor, Scott Walker, loves to give away public assets and property to the private sector. Why not turn over the evidence of misconduct so that it can be properly buried or selectively revealed to protect the guilty and harm the innocent?
It is simply wrong for Abele to even suggest giving the emails and other documents to the corporate media. There would be no way to verify that the paper was releasing everything or that the documents weren't edited to fit their agenda.
Besides the questions that have been with the Walkergate saga all along - such as just how deep and how far did the corruption spread - another question has come up with Abele's stonewalling.
Who is Abele trying to protect?