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From the diaries…
Labor union bosses, trial lawyers and the Wisconsin Democrats have been out to end the political career of Governor Scott Walker since the moment he took office. His move to reform government employee union collective bargaining rights was a public relations spark that ignited a partisan heap of half-truths and electoral grudges. To date, Scott Walker and his reforms are still standing (and working!) in Wisconsin much to the chagrin of the Left.
Leading up to the June recall election in which Walker will defend his governorship, Democrats and Big Labor aren’t talking about collective bargaining reforms. According to an internal Democrat Party of Wisconsin memo reported on by Mother Jones magazine, Wisconsin Democrats are hoping to oust Walker by in part focusing heavily on what is known as the John Doe investigation.
In Wisconsin, prosecutors may launch secretive probes (hence the name “John Doe”) into criminal activities. John Chisholm, the Democrat District Attorney for Milwaukee County, has for 2 years now been running a John Doe investigation into former county government employees who held jobs while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive.
Interestingly enough, it was Walker who called for the probe to out suspected fraud.
After Walker took office as governor, Democrats began hinting that the John Doe would morph into a probe of Walker, and thus Walker could become Wisconsin’s own version of Richard Nixon. The first Democrat Party of Wisconsin television ad of the gubernatorial recall explicitly made the Walker-Nixon comparison.
Uncanny leaks about the activities of investigators have found their way onto the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The paper, struggling to stay afloat financially, has prided itself on being skeptical of Walker and on having exclusive access to a string of insider information about the John Doe probe. It appears as if the integrity of the probe, led by a Democrat District Attorney, is compromised by the partisan nature of the leaks.
Wisconsin state law prohibits individuals with knowledge of a John Doe investigation from talking about it to anyone, including the media.
Just how partisan the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office is was revealed on Monday when Media Trackers confirmed that no less than 43 attorneys and staff members in the prosecutor’s office signed Walker recall petitions. More officials in the office may have signed, and the total number of matching names from the staff roster and names on recall petitions reaches as high as 70, though full confirmation of that number is still underway.
The partisanship reached to the highest levels, with one Lovell Johnson, Jr. a Deputy District Attorney who reports directly to elected Democrat DA John Chisholm.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the signature of Janet Oelstrom. Oelstrom is not an attorney, but she does work as a secretary in the tightly controlled and elite Public Integrity Unit, which oversees all John Doe investigations into public officials. As secretary, Oelstrom has access to a tremendous amount of information (all of it valuable to political opponents) including the John Doe probe into Walker’s county executive staff.
The presence of such a partisan individual handling sensitive information that could be used to inaccurately disparage a political opponent is troubling to say the least. That between 15% – 25% of the staff of the office running a probe speculated by Democrats to be aimed at Walker have such a partisan view of him calls into question their ability to professionally handle this case.
Oddly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which normally holds itself up as a watchdog against abuse of government office, has chosen to bury this story and ignore it as much as possible. Could it be that the liberal reporters and editors at the newspaper are providing cover for what increasingly looks like a politically motivated investigation into a conservative governor?
Let’s get this straight: Democrats in Wisconsin want to take Walker out by relying on the information they glean from this supposed-to-be-secret investigation. A Democrat District Attorney is leading this investigation and a tremendous number of his staff signed petitions to remove Governor Walker from office. The newspaper that gets all the well-placed leaks and tends to spin the story to favor liberals and Democrats is silent about this expose of partisanship and bias.
This looks like a classic case of a liberal media establishment, a far-left political party, and a highly partisan set of public officials trying to get away with destroying a conservative political opponent. If this is what it is, let’s hope it fails and kudos to the guys at Media Trackers who discovered the bias, partisanship, and horrible conflict of interest.
For full disclosure, I launched Media Trackers in Wisconsin and we’re currently expanding into other states.