May 22, 2012

The chief investigator in the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's administration had a Recall Walker sign in his yard.

And Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is "defends" him:
In a statement Monday, Chisholm said [David] Budde told him his wife, who is a county employee, put the sign in the couple's yard about a week ago.

"I do not regulate or control the constitutional freedoms of my employees' families in their private lives," the district attorney said. "They have the right, under state law, and in this case, county civil service rules, to express their political views as does any other citizen."
I put "defends" in quotes because it's the Wisconsin State Journal's word and because I don't think it really is a defense. It's more just Chisholm saying he can't do anything about it. He's more disconnecting himself from Budde than defending him.

This John Doe proceeding is one of Tom Barrett's main arguments against letting Scott Walker continue to serve his term in office. You know, Tom Barrett, the Democrat challenging Walker in the recall election, Tom Barrett, who doesn't want to be held responsible for what his wife does either.

46 comments:

Original Mike said...

"Nice."

elkh1 said...

"Tom Barrett, who doesn't want to be held responsible for what his wife does either."

Those little women, you know! PMS and all that. But Walker, being a man, has to be held responsible for what another man, John Doe, did. Man thing, you know!

Scott M said...

Somewhere Garage is wrapping duct tape around his skull to keep it from 'sploding. Truth be told, though, if this were party-reversed, there would be ensuing bedlam regardless of the DA's rationalization, however correct it may be.

rhhardin said...

Coleridge wrote that conflict of interest is the pulley on which good character is hoist into public view.

Maybe the investigation will exonerate Walker.

damikesc said...

Remember, years ago, when Democrats felt the "appearance of impropriety" was a really, really bad thing?

I guess that ended.

When your chief investigator clearly opposes you --- it might cause some people to question the validity of your investigation.

Original Mike said...

"The chief investigator in the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's administration had a Recall Walker sign in his yard."

This is what the law looks like (I guess).

cubanbob said...

The secret probe has resulted in criminal charges against five former campaign workers or associates and a contributor to Walker's gubernatorial campaign. Two other Walker associates have received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony in the probe, which appears focused on alleged illegal campaign activities in Walker's office when he was Milwaukee County executive.


Imagine next year when the DoJ starts going after Holder and company plus all the vote fraud in certain states and counties and by certain candidates who deliberatly turned off the ability to verify credit card charges as being domestic instead of foreign. And the crony-capitalist loans and credits. Democrats should tread lightly.

Jay said...

So in other words, "accountability" only applies to Republicans.

Democrats are never wrong, accountable, or sorry.

Scott said...

"Progressives" regard political beliefs with the same reverence that most normal people give to religious beliefs.

A lawn sign is not a religious icon or a declaration of faith.

This is perverse. Political institutions are human, not holy. And if the investigator can't conduct himself in a way that preserves the integrity of the institutions he has chosen to serve, then he should be fired.

MadisonMan said...

What about the people on the Grand Jury? Did they also have Recall Walker signs in their yards?

Would that be a bad thing?

traditionalguy said...

Cherchez la femme.

Mitchell said...

One must presume that the wife of the chief investigator is an educated woman, familiar with classical works such as Lysistrata.

elkh1 said...

Law fare, if you can't win an election, try to win with the judges and prosecutors who are in your pocket.

Heard of what heappened to Alaska's Ted Stevens?

Matthew Sablan said...

Eh, appearance of impropriety should be avoided. But, in this case, what if someone else in the house put it there, and the guy is secretly pro-Walker? Or doesn't care and is just doing his job? I mean, he should -avoid- looking biased, but sometimes a yard sign is just a yard sign.

eteam said...

This is a bogus issue. An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically with or without lawn signs, with or without personal political preferences.

Would this be any less troublesome if the lawn sign supported Walker? Would the expectations for professional and ethical conduct be any lower or higher in the absence of lawn signs?

Given the very low percentage of undecided Wisconsin voters in recent polls, should there be a requirement for only apolitical out-of-state agents for any and all such investigations of public and/or political figures?

Portia said...

I don't care if you secretly hate or love Walker.

Yard signs are a no no for politicians conducting investigations.

Sheesh!

Michael K said...

"One must presume that the wife of the chief investigator is an educated woman, familiar with classical works such as Lysistrata."

She might even have heard about Caesar's wife.

RonF said...

O.K. But then that means that they don't get to hold Justice Clarence Thomas' wife's political speech against him, either.

Rick Caird said...

These guys don't even bother to try to hide it.

Petunia said...

Budde's also contributed a lot of $$$ to various Dem candidates. He should be off the witch-hunt I mean John Doe investigation.

Original Mike said...

"An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically ..."

I'd say Budde failed that expectation. Miserably.

Chisholm may have had to say what he said in public. I can't imagine the private conversation was so milquetoast.

Original Mike said...

"These guys don't even bother to try to hide it."

It really is remarkable.

Jay said...

An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically with or without lawn signs, with or without personal political preferences.



And evidence that said investigator isn't capable of this leaves us where ______?

Jon Burack said...

Maybe this is naive. But suppose the investigators thought they did have something on Walker. And suppose they really were motivated purely to bring him to justice for it. Wouldn't THEY do everything in their power to avoid this sort of appearance of bias? That is, on the assumption they will have a much harder time getting a conviction if the jury suspects the investigation is on a witch hunt? I think they are on a witch hunt. I think their somewhat defensive defense of a right to put up yard signs (as opposed to an absolute zero-tolerance attitude toward that) implies they do not intend to go to trial and do not have anything on Walker. Especially since, if they were to come out with something now two weeks before the election, I think they would court a huge backlash. Instead, they will let this drip, drip, drip along hoping it has impact. Just a thought.

n.n said...

Following full disclosure there should be a commensurate scrutiny in order to identify relevant conflicts of interest. That should be a non-negotiable condition for his continued participation.

Blue@9 said...

This is a bogus issue. An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically with or without lawn signs, with or without personal political preferences.

Would this be any less troublesome if the lawn sign supported Walker? Would the expectations for professional and ethical conduct be any lower or higher in the absence of lawn signs?


A buffoonish comment. An investigator is required to do his duties without any personal or political enmity against the subject of the investigation. Putting up a sign calling for the subject's recall belies that neutrality.

And really, the wife did it? So now he's going to blame his wife for being a bitch?

Michael Haz said...

That's the first part of the story.

Here's the second part.

The chief investogator said that the yard and window signs were put up by his wife. Fair enough. But he's now introduced his wife into the story.

His wife works for Tom Barrett's brother, John Barrett, who is the City of Milwaukee Circuit Court Clerk.

No conflict of interest here. Nothing to see. Move along.

TosaGuy said...

Budde's wife also used to work for John Barrett -- Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Court. He is Tom's brother.

The group found out about the sign also has an open records request regarding Budde's wife and information leaked to Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal for the John Doe investigation.

MadisonMan said...

I think a comparison can be drawn with the US Attorney nonsense during the Bush Administration -- wherein attorneys were apparently let go because they weren't sufficiently partisan in their prosecution of criminals. For not doing things like Stephen Biskupic (who was not let go) did with Georgia Thompson. (Oddly enough, his biography at Best & Friedrich glosses over this case).

If you thought the US Atty's situation back in Bush II was not a problem, do you also think this is not a problem? If you thought the US Atty situation in Bush II was a problem, is this current situation also a problem?

Are you consistent? Are these two situations that similar?

Richard Dolan said...

It seems that no one in the Wisconsin justice system understands how appearances can undermine confidence in institutions. From the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to the Dane County bench, and now to these prosecutors, there seems to be no concern whatever for how their actions can destroy what little confidence people have in the fairness of the administration of justice.

Shame.

Original Mike said...

"This is a bogus issue. An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically with or without lawn signs, with or without personal political preferences."

In my profession the standard is, not even an appearance of bias. The standard for a criminal investigator should be less? Because their job actions carry such little consequence?

roesch/voltaire said...

I suspect if we all had heard the testimony from the Walker associates granted immunity, even more re-call Walker signs would sprout up.

Jay said...

MadisonMan said...
Are these two situations that similar?



Um, no.

Mainly because US Attorney's are political appointees.

traditionalguy said...

Actually this sign could be a good sign.

If the Investigator and his friend Garage knew that an indictment/ accusation would be announced this weekend, then they would not have bothered to put up a Barrett sign. He would win anyway.

Rusty said...

roesch/voltaire said...
I suspect if we all had heard the testimony from the Walker associates granted immunity, even more re-call Walker signs would sprout up




I suspect not.

damikesc said...

If you thought the US Atty's situation back in Bush II was not a problem, do you also think this is not a problem?

A President firing attorneys who serve at the pleasure of the President is not an issue.

An investigator who openly opposes the target of his investigation is an issue.

I am baffled as to why you'd attempt to correlate the two.

This is a bogus issue. An investigator is expected to perform professionally and ethically with or without lawn signs, with or without personal political preferences.

As asked earlier --- if he DOESN'T do that? Then what?

His wife, who he blames for the signs, is one of the ones assumed to have been leaking info on the investigation to the press.

He is damaged goods. Nobody can trust him.

Would this be any less troublesome if the lawn sign supported Walker?

No. An investigator with the impressive resources of the state/county should not be taking sides in what is supposed to be an investigation.

You know, which isn't the same as a prosecution.

Given the very low percentage of undecided Wisconsin voters in recent polls, should there be a requirement for only apolitical out-of-state agents for any and all such investigations of public and/or political figures?

Given how f'd up WI is --- that might be a good idea.

Alex said...

I'd want to know what those immunized witnesses have to say about Walker. The smoking gun!

X said...

If you thought the US Atty's situation back in Bush II was not a problem, do you also think this is not a problem?

I didn't think it was a problem when Bush replaced 8 U.S. Attorneys in 2006 because Clinton fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys upon taking office in 1993.

Michael K said...

You know it's desperation time when the Bush firing of US attorneys, many of whom were holdovers from Clinton and some of whom were making political decisions on prosecution, is brought up in this context. As Clinton informed us in Arkansas, the US attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Hasn't anybody seen "Absence of Malice ?'

"You ain't no presidential appointee, Elliot. The one that hired you was me. You got 30 days "

Michael K said...

I'm hearing that voters are being bussed into Wisconsin to vote against Walker. Where are they going to stay until the election?

ndspinelli said...

Wisconsin needs a Hatch Act.

Amartel said...

Keeping up the appearance of justice is for the little people.

Amartel said...

And by "little people" I mean conservatives. Especially those baggers.

MadTownGuy said...

How many of the nearly 200,000 new voters who have registered in Wisconsin since 2011 were bogus?

tim in vermont said...

Doesn't the fact that his spouse's retirement is affected by Walker's policies give him a financial interest in the case? Why shouldn't he recuse himself? Stupid question, Democrats don't recuse.

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