Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

New Probe is Big Trouble for Walker

Both the first and second John Doe have focused on his campaigns, suggesting a disturbing pattern.

By - Nov 19th, 2013 12:13 pm
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Scott Walker

Scott Walker

Back in March, retired Appeals Court Judge Neal Nettesheim announced the John Doe probe that focused on the former staff of County Executive Scott Walker had shut down. Supporters of Walker declared he had been “vindicated” and the probe’s completion proved he did nothing wrong.

In fact, it would appear the investigation had simply veered into a new direction, beginning in February 2012, a month before the first John Doe ended. But it was still aimed at the campaign operations of Walker. Last month we learned from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice that Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, who started the first probe, has been investigating “all over the place.” Langraf apparently appointed Francis Schmitz — who spent nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor — to lead the new John Doe probe and Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka to oversee the case.

We’ve since learned from a Wall Street Journal editorial that Schmitz has subpoened 29 different conservative groups, including state and national organizations, and appears to be focused on campaign contributions to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Gov. Walker and state legislative leaders. Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, told the Wisconsin State Journal the investigation appears to be zeroing in on whether so-called issue ads by outside groups illegally coordinated with political campaigns to help boost candidates.

The Wall Street Journal took the unusual step of revealing the details of the probe in order to denounce it as a “raid” on “political speech.”

Radio talker Charlie Sykes, the Pavlov’s dog of Republican talking points, immediately called the probe “a witch hunt.”

In short, the probe has frightened Sykes and conservatives, and with good reason. Schmitz is a highly regarded prosecutor who was once considered for the job of U.S. Attorney. And there appears to be a pattern here of Walker merging his government and political work.

Remember, the first John Doe charged six people with crimes, all of whom took plea deals rather than fight it in court. Three of the six were staff of Walker,  all charged with doing campaign work on government time.

Tim Russell, a former deputy chief of staff to Walker, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $21,000 from a veterans fund, but in a sentencing memo, Landgraf said Russell had spent large amounts of time while at his county jobs doing political work. Russell had regular phone contact with campaign operatives, helped publish a pro-Walker campaign blog called “ScottForGov” and helped conduct opposition political research for Walker’s bid for governor, all while on the county clock, according to Landgraf.

Kelly Rindfleisch, another aide to County Executive Walker, was sentenced to six months in jail for campaign fundraising at the courthouse using a secret email system installed there.

Darlene Wink, Walker’s constituent services coordinator at the county, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for doing campaign work while on county time.

At the very least, these convictions call into question Walker’s judgment in hiring staff. Some Republicans have suggested to me that Russell was ethically challenged. He had been fired in 1993 from a job with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority for improperly charging the agency for his stay at a hotel. It was Russell who set up secret email system in his office which was less than 25 feet from Walker’s office and “had to be set up with the express purpose of getting around open records requests and doing illegal campaign activity from the county executive’s offices,” as conservative blogger James Wigderson once wrote.

As for Rindfleisch, she had been threatened with prosecution and granted immunity in the legislative caucus scandal a decade ago. This is a person with long experience illegally working on political campaigns while being paid by government. Yet she gets hired by the Walker administration and is apparently never told not to campaign; instead it looks like she was hired for that purpose.  She went to work for Walker at the county at the beginning of his run for governor and left the county less than two weeks after he was elected governor. Although employed full time by the county, Rindfleisch told people she was working half time on political campaigns.

As for Wink, she officially worked for Walker as his constituent services coordinator, but was actually working on his gubernatorial campaign.  After her campaign activities were found out, she resigned

All of which suggests Walker at the very least tolerated staff who campaigned on government time, which is illegal. Throughout the first John Doe, Walker insisted he was not a target of the investigation, but he hired two top-level criminal defense lawyers – Michael Steinle of Milwaukee and John Gallo of Chicago – to represent him and paid them nearly $200,000 from a defense fund he created.

So yes, one could imagine investigators continuing to look for evidence that Walker was breaking campaign laws. Just as Walker had an overlap between his county staff and his gubernatorial campaign, in the recall election for governor he had an overlap between his campaign and an independent third party group: R.J. Johnson was an adviser to both Walker’s campaign and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. (Johnson declined to comment to the State Journal about the probe.)

The new probe seems to concern potential coordination — which could be illegal if it occurred — between the Walker campaign and third party groups.

According to the Wall Street Journal story, special prosecutor Schmitz “has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.” The subpoenas demand “all memoranda, email . . . correspondence, and communications” related to the campaigns from such groups as the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

One target of the subpoena is Eric O’Keefe, director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which advocates lower taxes and limited government. He told the Wall Street Journal that “at least three of the targets had their homes raided at dawn, with law-enforcement officers turning over belongings to seize computers and files.”

The publication also speculated that there might be involvement by the Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in Wisconsin.  “A person who has seen one of the Wisconsin search warrants tells us that the warrants were executed based on the request of Dean Nickel, who filed an affidavit for probable cause. Mr. Nickel is a former head of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Public Integrity Unit and has worked as an investigator for the GAB. Mr. Nickel told us he is a contractor for the GAB but wouldn’t discuss the John Doe probe. GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy declined to comment.”

That might help explain why Walker and the Republicans threw longtime Republican and retired Court of Appeals judge David Deininger off the Government Accountability Board. Though the majority of board members are Republicans, GOP lawmakers have still been complaining that the board is too hard on Republican politicians.

The last time I checked, the duty of prosecutors was to investigate when they suspect crimes are occurring. The first probe successfully nabbed six wrongdoers. That is not an attack on free speech, but a criminal investigation.

Nonetheless you can expect the attack dogs on the right to try to pressure the investigators to quit. Sykes told his listeners the John Doe was “an assault on free speech” but also admitted “we don’t know what they’re looking for.” That, in a nutshell, exposes the hole in their argument.

Short Take

The right wing is also trying to scare the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and columnist Dan Bice away from covering the probe. The Wall Street Journal piece declared that “Mr. Bice is well known for his Democratic sources.” True, but he’s just as well known for his Republican sources. For some reason they left that out of the story.

In a piece that also called the probe a witchhunt, conservative blogger George Mitchell offered a piece that more or less predicts the JS and Bice will back down from covering the new probe. I doubt it.

Update November 20, 9:30 a.m.: As the Journal Sentinel reported today, Judge Kluka has recused herself from the case and it is now being overseen by retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson.

43 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: New Probe is Big Trouble for Walker”

  1. Matt says:

    ” Charlie Sykes, the Pavlov’s dog of Republican talking points.”

    Pavlov’s Dog advanced the cause of science and humanity. He has also been dead for many years. To smear him with the Sykes comparison is both unseemly and beneath you.

  2. burtquinn says:

    Let’s talk coordination. What is the basis for the information that Nickel used for this probable cause compliant? Was it information that came for John Doe I? If so, did John Doe prosecutors leak information illegally to Mr. Nickel as a basis for a new compliant to continue its endless but mostly unproductive probe. If so, both the prosecutor and Mr. Nickel should be subjected to their own probe. Also this campaign coordination charge is a largely done on some levels across both parties. To believe otherwise is very naive. Investigate away but do it across aisles. End result is likely to be a slap on the wrist to stop doing it. I am certain if Mr. Nickel looked hard enough he could find probable cause on Barrett’s side also, but if you don’t look you don’t find. How convenient.

  3. dohnal(Wis. Conservtive Digest says:

    For 50 years I have watched the Left in Milwaukee county in coordinate with the democrats, plan, register voters, cheat on elections and no one has done thing. Name me the democrats that have been charged with election law violations and the investigations while McCann was in office. Name me the priests that he prosecuted while he was well aware of the perverts. Name me the problems that any of them have solved in the last 20 years?

  4. Ed Werstein says:

    Bruce,
    Good article as usual. Seems like you must be on to something real. You’ve got Scottie’s lapdogs yapping at you.

  5. Bruce Thompson says:

    dohnal,
    If you have information of violations by Democrats and you don’t trust the local DA to do a thorough investigation, why haven’t you passed it on to the Attorney General? Or is he also in the pocket of the Dems?

    This investigation is getting more and more interesting, with the latest court filing by unnamed parties to try to stop it. If nothing else, the stakes are steadily rising.

  6. Mike Bark says:

    Couple of thoughts:

    - It does strike me that these investigations seem to only target Republicans starting with the investigations of Scott Jensen. Why not open a John Doe and start getting all the records from the groups that supported Mayor Barrett just to make sure there was no coordination between his campaign and those parties?

    - If I’m a donor to a conservative cause I’d also have to question whether or not it’s worth the hassle if Bruce Lanndgraf is going to investigate me every couple of years. It’s sort of like an audit. It doesn’t matter if you win or not the experience is always troubling.

    - Ever since the investigations that Brian Blanchard did several years ago I’ve questioned whether these laws were even prudent to have or if they needed to be relaxed. Isn’t just about everything these politicians do political in nature. Where exactly is the line? Is this stuff really a big issue? We get all bent out of shape about some of this stuff, but really have no issues with any of our President’s essentially campaigning non-stop.

    - Yes, I think some of Scott Walker’s hiring decisions can be questioned. Just keep in mind that Mary Burke’s company became HUGE once they started associating with Lance Armstrong and they also threw Greg LeMond under the bus at Lance’s request. That looks pretty questionable these days.

  7. Tom D says:

    How do we know this probe only targets conservative groups? Because unnamed “sources” in the Journal-Sentinel say so?

    As I understand it, targets of a John Doe probe are not allowed to tell anybody (except their lawyer) about the probe. The only reason we know about this probe at all is that some conservative targets have apparently violated this law and talked. How we know there aren’t also some liberal targets who (because they obey the law) haven’t spoken up?

  8. tim haering says:

    Many see the “disturbing pattern” as myopic prosecution of Republicans. What is the other hand doing while we are focused on the right?

  9. Bruce Hall says:

    It’s been almost 50 years since I left Milwaukee and this investigation shocks and astounds me. A local prosecutor can run a secret search and seizure political campaign against a sitting governor? Totally surreal. Now I’m positive that I made the correct decision to leave. Looks as if Chicago has infected its neighbor to the north.

  10. jake says:

    I can’t wait to see the defense of the criminal behaviour and rightwingers twist their brains to justify it in this state. So much for princples and ethics and personal responsibiliy, but that doesn’t matter when they cheer Walker and his crony’s to crush the liberals, democrats, and anyone they despise.

  11. jake says:

    Bruce H. is correct Walker and his billionare network should be above the law. How dare law enforcement personal do their jobs, don’t they know that Walker was an eagle scout and his father a pastor so there is no way he would do anyhting illegal. Just seems everyone around him do, and readily fall on their swords for six figure salaries afterword and hush money and jobs by campaign contributers.

    Only conservative and republican law enforcment agents do their jobs professionaly and objectively, anyone left of the right must be mared by ideology and vendetta’s.

    WI Republicans and conservatives now it’s time to stand by your principles, seems we might have a scandal worse the Bob Mcdonalds and a showcase for why the Citizens UNited Ruling is destroying our Democratic Republic.

    Only fitting that the state which brought the ruiling is the test case for the Disaster that is the WI Scotus and Scotus conservative activism.

  12. Andy says:

    So the John Doe investigations started because of an issue that was brought about by Walker and his staff about Tim Russell. They asked for it to begin with it and the whole things has snowballed into what appears to be a wide net being cast to catch anyone doing anything remotely illegal. I’m not saying people should be above the law, but there is also such ideas as due process and probable cause.

    The way these John Doe investigations go on and then get leaked it’s become soooo easy for conjecture and guessing about all the evil that is being done. Out of the last investigation that lasted years and cost the taxpayers how much money, all we got out of it was the guy that Walker already turned in and two staffers doing relatively minor activities?

    This sort of thing makes the WSJ point of view far more believable then any ideas I’ve seen tossed up here.

  13. Andy says:

    Ugh… grammar police… please go easy on me.

  14. David says:

    Please. This is a witch hunt designed to stifle any support for Walker the next go around. Its pure political intimidation from the book Rules for Radicals. We know exactly what the liberals are trying to do and we are no longer scared of their bullying and scare tactics. The days of Wisconsin being liberal bastion are over!

  15. Tom Held says:

    Tossing this one out there for Bob Dohnal: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/38883872.html

  16. Katrina says:

    I love John Doe 1 and 2. I love reading about the investigations and speculating on what really happened. I never tire of learning more about Walker and the types of people he surrounds himself with. I love the dirt and discomfort from the right and the smugness from the left. Thanks for writing about this.

  17. jake says:

    Walker supporters live in a bubble. Somehow they think just because they are right of center they are somehow free from scandal and breaking the law or some sort of tinfoil hat conspiracy cooked up by liberals.

    Walker is human and a man with great ambition as well as billions of dollars and thousands of people willing to look to him for the answers to getting rid of liberals and democrats.

    Walker is the manifestation of the he-man liberal hater’s club and Walker supporters take great pride in his attacks against progressive, liberal, Democratic leaning areas of the State.

    This “hatred” and seething anger at anything left of their Right, trumps any ethical, personal responsibility, morals, principles that they say they once had when Doyle was Gov., from being the champions of local control and small government to state concentration of power and power concentration into the executive branch.

    Sykes and the JS communications juggernaut supported and supports this because it meets their corporate goals.

    So Walker zealots don’t care if he broke the law or screws up, or creates debt to give a property tax break, or raises taxes on the poor, etc…, your guilty of drinking the same Obama Koolaid or being a Obamzombie that you accuse other people of, Walker Zombbi and Walker Aid takes it’s place.

  18. chris byhre says:

    Actually, Walker supporters live in the real world where they go to work, pay taxes and raise their families with values. Many Conservatives have grown tired of these over reaching government officials in non partisan positions making them targets simply for their ideology. The abuses of the IRS and the Milwaukee DA’s office are a disgrace and need to be addressed. Walker does not have “billions of dollars” Jake. I think you are a little confused on the difference between billions and millions. A billion dollars is what the Obama regime spent on the http://www.healthcare.gov (don’t click on the link..it doesn’t work) web site. A million dollars would be the minimum amount spent by the DA trying to prevent Walker from being elected. We do not know the exact amount of tax dollars spent on these probes because they won’t release the information.

  19. David says:

    Republicans aren’t the only targets. On October 17, 2002, Democrat Chuck Chvala was charged with 20 felony counts, including extortion, misconduct in public office and filing false reports with the state Elections Board. He was sentenced to nine months in jail with two years of probation for his part in the state Capitol corruption scandal.[

  20. Justin says:

    For all the Republican outrage over this new John Doe investigation, where was you outrage when then, US Attorney Steven Biskupic went on his personal witch hunt to try to find something, anything to smear sitting Governor Doyle with in 2006? Biskupic “found” a career public servant, Georgia Thompson and turned her life upside down by prosecuting her for corruption in awarding a travel contract that actually saved Wisconsin taxpayers money. Georgia Thompson was imprisoned by the crooked Republican judge through the efforts of Republican US attorney Steven Biskupic.

    The prosecution of Georgia Thompson provided a reason for the Republican Governor’s Association to run over 1 million dollars worth of ads in the 2006 race for Governor linking the corrupt and imprisoned Georgia Thompson to the corruption of the Doyle administration. Fortunately for Wisconsin and Georgia Thompson, her conviction was overturned on appeal by a 3 judge appeals court that called the “evidence” that Biskupic presented in her trial “beyond thin”.

    Biskupic SHOULD have been prosecuted for what he did to Georgia Thompson in order to give Mark Green something to run on. It should have been Biskupic doing the perp walk, not Georgia Thompson. Where was the outrage from all you “law and order” Republicans about the Georgia Thompson prosecution? Crickets…….

    Sadly for Wisconsin, in 2013, I think that the current group of Republican politicians is ABOVE the law. Wisconsin is the nation’s laboratory on private ownership of an entire state. Scott Walker is ABOVE the law-there will never be any accountability for all the illegal stuff he & the right wing money machine have done in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the most corrupt state in America.

  21. Michae Leon says:

    Bruce,

    A few comments.

    Republicans attacking the John Doe probe should adjust their fire from special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, to the new judge in this investigation, retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson, as you note. But the Judge is, if you will, the official who bears the top responsibility for the proceeding, by statute.

    Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe proceedings is the statutory authority for conducting John Doe probes in Wisconsin. And statute reads that “The judge shall convene a proceeding as described under sub. (3) if he or she determines that a proceeding is necessary to determine if a crime has been committed.”? Along with the prosecutor’s office, this is the judge’s show, Judge Perterson is supervising the investigation, so if the GOP has a problem, as recent stories indicate in calling for a halt (stalling tactic, but seems fair for new attys) to the proceeding, Judge Peterson is the man.

    So, the GOP’s target is Peterson.

    Unless the GOP, Walker’s defenders and Charlie Sykes have some facts and evidence to back up their conclusion that the probe is a “witch hunt,” their flacking should be described for it is: Slander of reputable jurists.

    As for the Wall Street Journal scoop and the Club for Growth’s Eric O’Keefe. Since when can you just tell a judge: Forget it, get lost; I don’t recognize the authority of your subpoena, your court or the investigation over which you precede?

    Finally, when a witness appearing takes immunity for testifying, this implies no guilt of any crime. Part of the policy rationale behind immunity is to allow the truth of the subject of the probe freely dug up and comprehensively aired in the probe. Please see http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/968/26/

    One more thing, no one is being targeted, the whole is to determine whether crimes have been committed and by whom. And no judge worth her salt is going to approve a John Doe probe without cause. So, when Scott Walker says, as in John Doe I (2010-13), ‘I’m not a target,’ it behooves we readers to note no one is a target until they are criminally charged.

    Alright, one more thing, since Scott Walker is the only sitting Wisconsin governor ever to have a legal defense fund, and since his close and long-time aides were convicted in John Doe I, it is fair that Walker be called to account for his behavior in office before John Doe I in a listening session with the Wisconsin people, where citizens can ask any question of their elected representative who is supposed to be serving us.

  22. jakle says:

    Sorry Chris stating your Moral Superiority to anyone left of your right does not count ethical does not count as a defense for illegal campaign activity and to that fact that conservative pro Walker groups.

    Your more willing to defend Walker than stand on said principles because you have joined his cult of personality and enjoy the authoritarian nature of the WI republican part and how they punish your enemies like myself.

    Do you defend Walker and his legislature taking away local control from municipalities? Do you? Cause I know for a fact that was your sides mantra when Doyle was gov.? Or doesn’t it matter since Walker is going after Milwaukee, Madison, and area’s of likely Democratic voters?

    If you had a principle of “Local Control,” you should be outraged!

    And the Obama bait and switch is such a over used tactic by the right, much like Charlie Sykes telling his gullible listeners what their opinion should be, “You should be out-raged.” They all end in the emotion of anger.

  23. chris byhre says:

    I did not claim moral superiority over anyone, I simply gave you a snapshot of a typical Walker supporter. You call yourself an enemy of Republicans. That view is fairly typical of people on your side of these arguments. You are not our enemy, you are simply part of a minority in Wisconsin that don’t seem to have a very firm grasp on the facts. I defend Walker on many things, not unequivocally. If local control is going to result in more actions like the shameful ‘sale’ of the former Malcolm X School then yes, I am for less local control. Let’s not forget what Act 10 gave to each individual city in Wisconsin, more control over their budgets. Milwaukee alone saved over 20 million dollars last year. There was no bait and switch in my argument, I simply pointed out another example of over zealous Dems trying to silence Conservatives as in the IRS scandal. Harry Reid and Obama creating their own rules in the Senate yesterday would be another example of this reprehensible behavior. You won’t see Conservatives calling for recalls, destroying public property or assaulting Dems, we will direct our actions to the voting booth.

  24. Tom D says:

    Chris, if Act 10 saved the City only $20 million last year, that is barely a rounding error: about 1.3% of a $1,500 million City budget. Much or all of that $20 million was wiped out by other Walker actions like the requirement that billboards be assessed without regard to their location and requiring the City to pay for utility relocations needed for transit purposes. (And, yes, bus improvements can involve utility relocation, so this isn’t just about the streetcar.)

    Meanwhile, conservatives don’t mind asking Milwaukee utility ratepayers to kick in for purely SUBURBAN utility relocation projects, like this one:

    http://www.brookfieldnow.com/news/ask-now-why-are-there-barriers-at-brookfield-road-and-north-avenue-b99144953z1-232453541.html

  25. Chris Byhre says:

    Tom, maybe in your world tens of millions of dollars is not a lot of money, but to most of us who work hard and pay taxes, it is. We can talk about how Milwaukee receives more then $200 million in aid from the State of WI every year or how Mayor Barrett raised fees on solid waste, sewage, storm water etc for home owners in the city this year, but the main focus of this thread has been the over reaching of Dems in their never ending efforts to derail the progress that Conservatives have brought to WI. Also, I think your caps lock got stuck you might want to look into that.

  26. Bruce Thompson says:

    Chris,
    Assume, for the sake of argument that the first investigation found evidence that the various organizations were coordinating their efforts with the campaigns. In such a case are you arguing there should be no followup investigation?

  27. chris byhre says:

    Bruce, my argument is that the Democrat DA appears to be a partisan hack. I would love to see people who are breaking laws being prosecuted for doing so. I find it more then a little suspicious that only Conservatives are being looked at and it also happens to coincide twice with upcoming elections for the Governorship. Whether it is the behavior of this DA, radical judges in Madison trying to undermine the Governor, Obama’s IRS pursuit of Conservatives, the Dem controlled Senate making up new rules to fit their agenda last week, there is an obvious pattern of Democrat abuse of power and it needs to be checked.

  28. jake says:

    Fees are raised because property taxes can not go up to meet the service requirments like paying the people who do the work a living wage.

    Property taxes spread the pain, the pay for service model is a door way to under preforming and low paying private enterprise.

    Too bad Governer forced vaginal ultrasound 2, property tax cut doesn’t put more money back in the pockets of working people, but into the Menards and the states wealthiest property owners.

  29. jake says:

    You must be a paid seminar poster. Democrats abuse of power!!!!!!!!!!! Chris you must be a comedian, Walker and his cronies have been changing the rules the second they got in power. Blocking, with a 60 vote super majority 186 judicial appointees for benches, more than any other president in history! That is called abuse, not to mention senate bills.

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    Fact is you have like the vast majority of extremist American Taliban like you live in a world of situational ethics. Yes I Said American Taliban, and I mean it. Your ideology has moved from political opposition, to justification of complete authoritarian state conntrol and your fine with it because Walker is your guy, to actively using insurgency denial tactics to defeat and punish your ideological enemy.

    Conservative can no longer be tied to moderate, they have been being purged since the mud 1990′s. It took the first black president to purge the redt of those RINO’s

  30. chris byhre says:

    I really have no idea what you are talking about and your name calling and penchant for exclamation points do nothing to further your argument, whatever it may be. You and I fundamentally disagree on many things. Stop name calling and dial down the hyperbole and maybe an actual debate could be had. I am neither a paid poster (where can I get a gig like that?) nor a comedian but I am glad you were able to find some humor in what I surmise might otherwise be some stressful times for you.

  31. Tim says:

    Calls someone a ‘partisan hack’… then pleads for decorum & a limit on namecalling.

    chris byhre, which republican member of the House are you?

  32. chris byhre says:

    Tim, I stated that he appears to be one based upon his actions and what we know. The actions of the DA are highly partisan, of that there is no doubt. I believe this is a bit different then calling someone an American Taliban, particularly someone about whom you know nothing. Maybe in your world these things are hard to differentiate. Why not take a stand on the issue at hand rather then parsing words and running to the defense of someone else’s ramblings?

  33. Tim says:

    I get it, everyone is held to a different standard than yourself. I didn’t need a paragraph to say it either.

  34. Chris Byhre says:

    I suspect a paragraph from you would be asking too much.

  35. Tim says:

    So name calling is a no-no for other people, but that’s ok from you?

    As I said, everyone is held to a different standard than yourself.

  36. jake says:

    Standards are based on ideology not principles.

    I stand by my statement: the majority of conservatives and republicans have gone to a denial at any cost strategy: Taliban as coined by: “Rep. Pete Sessions, (R-TX). In Feb. of 2009, just weeks after the inauguration of President Obama, Sessions said, “The Republican party will have to become an insurgency to counter Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.” He added that the Taliban can serve as “a model.” http://www.examiner.com/article/rep-garcia-step-up-push-aside-these-extremist-elements-this-taliban

    Let me see the 186 filibusters of circuit court nominees more or less proves this.

    I rest my case.

  37. Chris Byhre says:

    jake, I had no idea you were so conversant with the words of Rep Sessions. How long did it take you to google that? Obama is on the same pace as GW Bush with his court nominees through the first 5 years of his Presidency. There should have been more scrutiny to his cabinet selections as he choose a tax cheat for Secretary of the Treasury and a complete failure as his Health and Human Services Secretary. I am glad you are going to get some rest, I think that is a good idea. See what Tim is doing, maybe you can hang out and finish each others sentences.

  38. jake says:

    I agree; Obama should nominate rightwing conservatives so Jon Ronson does not filibuster them. Thats what it means to be moderate.

    Bait and switch, red herring, strawmen, etc… the tactics rarely change it is what you are programmed to do Chris, your fair and balanced media lords have trained you well.

  39. Bruce Thompson says:

    Chris,
    I am sorry to see you are being attacked for your answer to my query. That is unfortunate, I think, because people should be able to disagree without questioning each others’ characters.

    On the investigation, I think both sides would be well advised to quiet down and see what develops. Conservatives, because the ferocity of their attacks on the investigation supports the view that there is something to hide. Liberals, because their triumphalism raises the standards for a successful investigation, so that anything short of the governor’s conviction is a defeat.

    I am not privy to the DA’s motivations so I don’t know whether a partisan element enters in, but I certainly hope not.

  40. Chris Byhre says:

    Bruce, I think the reason for the Conservatives coming out on the offensive this time is because they are tired of being bullied by the Democrat machine. The first John Doe and the IRS Scandal are still fresh in our minds. I personally think the IRS targeting of Conservatives is one of the most significant abuses of government power in the last 100 years. As for the personal attacks, while annoying, they are really not a big deal. The unfortunate part about them is that they detract from and sometimes prohibit an honest debate. I realize that you are not going to change peoples minds on some things but ideally you could exchange viewpoints and maybe show someone a different perspective that they had not previously considered.

  41. Andy says:

    I as much as anyone want to make sure that if laws are broken that the criminals are prosecuted. The problem I am having has more to do with due process and probable cause. I’m sure if we searched without restriction we can find something illegal with almost anyone.

    Take for example a highway checkpoint where we stop every car, search for illegal items, make sure every car meets safety laws (lightbulbs out, seatbelt check, etc), breathalize every driver, etc. I’m sure we would catch people breaking the law, but in the interim we’ve violated the rights of many innocent people.

    So at what cost do we find these criminals? Do we have just cause for this investigation and the things they are delving into? Are we trampling the rights of innocent people to catch these criminals and if so, are the crimes worth doing that for?

    I hope the people pursuing the John Doe investigations are asking and answering those very questions.

  42. jake says:

    In order to have an honest debate you need both sides to to be fair and honest to their principles and motivations.

    All i see from the right is a dishonest attempt to kill the messenger labeling the investigation a witch hunt by law enforcement professionals, as well as sulling and attacking with the meme that if you are not conservative you cannot be professional, while being a conservative automatically gives you the benefit of the doubt (which is a huge double standard).

    In my opinion the quasi-christian/libertarian ideology that conservative extremists are prisioners to, clouds and filters all facets of life. Sorry Chris but you echo the JS communications 620 Wtmj talking points in an attempt to bait the public from focusing on possible illegal campaign abuses to switch to a view of a partisian witchhunt.

    Jon Doe 1 charged 6 people for breaking the law, regardless is you think that there should be an eye for an eye to balance the ledger, the conduct was still illegal. Faith based evidence that everyone does it does not matter in the realm of law.

    If you want honest debate, if you want me to consider that all Jon Doe 2 is is a partisian witchhunt, then you will need to bend as well and agree that non-conervative law enforcement professionals can do their jobs objectively and (until we get more evidence), it is possible that the PACS broke campaign finance law to help Walker win the recall election.

  43. Andy says:

    Yes Jake, let’s be fair and honest about principles and motivations. During John Doe 1, an extreme amount of time, energy, and resources were put towards an investigation that netted relatively few charges. Not to mention, the charges were far outside the scope of the initial investigation (for which Walkers people actually requested). Meanwhile, how many names were dragged through the mud of people who were never charged with anything? On top of that, Liberals used it as a strategic talking point to slander Walker and other conservatives. Those facts certainly made it come across as a witch hunt to many people.

    I think the motivation by the conservatives on John Doe 2 is clear, don’t let the conversation and attacks be framed by Liberals this time around. By nature of a John Doe investigation, any theories cannot be disputed because people under investigation and part of the investigation cannot speak to their defense. So in other words they want to frame the conversation now, before the liberals do.

    Of course you know this already, but obviously you won’t admit it in your comments.

    As I stated before, I strongly support prosecuting anyone caught breaking the law… but prosecutors and judges in these cases must be cognizant to not trample people’s rights in the process. And EVERYONE must hold their opinions until actual facts are brought forth through charges.

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