Cindy Archer’s claims of prosecutor abuse during John Doe search of her residence wildly exaggerated

In June, Cindy Archer, a member of Gov. Scott Walker’s inner circle during Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive, filed a lawsuit against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm alleging prosecutorial abuses during a search of Archer’s residence in 2011 in connection with the John Doe investigation in Walker and many of his closest advisors. Archer’s suit alleged officers threw a search warrant at her without letting her read it, screamed at her, ransacked her house, blocked her from going outside to smoke, and didn’t inform her of her constitutional rights or tell her she could speak with a lawyer.

However, as a new report by Brendan Fischer of PR Watch notes, Archer’s claims aren’t supported by a recently released audio recording of the search of Archer’s residence.

In April, Archer was the star of a National Review article called “Wisconsin’s Shame” that spoke of “armed pre-dawn raids” and screaming police with battering rams ransacking her home. The article sparked a firestorm across right-wing media (including Fox News) and was even cited by the Wisconsin Supreme Court as “proof” that prosecutors used “paramilitary style raids” in conducting their investigations of Walker, even though the searches were not being challenged and hadn’t been addressed before the court.

In June, Archer announced in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that she was filing a civil rights lawsuit against state prosecutors. She alleged prosecutors had a “personal vendetta” against her for helping to craft Walker’s 2011 anti-union Act 10 legislation. Her lawsuit describes a September 2011 search of her home where she claims officers threw a search warrant at her without letting her read it, screamed at her, ransacked her house, blocked her from going outside to smoke, and didn’t inform her of her constitutional rights or tell her she could speak with a lawyer.

Yet Archer’s allegations about overzealous prosecutorial tactics fall apart in a recording of the 2011 search, filed by prosecutors in response to her lawsuit and made public yesterday.

The search, which was led by experienced FBI agents, was taped by Aaron Weiss, an investigator with the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office. Although the first few minutes of the tape are muffled, the three-hour long recording shows that the interaction between Archer and the agents was quiet and cordial. The tapes reveal Archer, her partner, and the agents joking, chatting about dogs and aquariums, and discussing home repairs and coffee-making techniques.

I’d encourage you all to go read the PR Watch report and then listen to the attached audio clips of the search of Cindy Archer’s residence.

Longtime Scott Walker aide Cindy Archer to sue John Chisholm

According to this op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal’s online edition Cindy Archer, a longtime close aide to Scott Walker, is planning on suing Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for allegedly violating her civil rights.

The governor’s reforms, commonly referred to as Act 10, prompted angry union protests. The reforms also enraged many politicians, including, as I would later find out, Mr. Chisholm and members of his staff. My ties to Gov. Walker and Act 10 made me a prime target for Mr. Chisholm’s campaign to intimidate anyone close to the governor.

In other words, I was targeted because of my politics—in plain violation of the First Amendment and federal civil-rights statutes.

While Cindy Archer wants to play the victim and blame the search of her residence on some politically-motivated witch hunt, I’m more inclined to believe the warrant to search her residence was granted based on evidence (as warrants typically aren’t issue absent evidence of criminal behavior) and likely due to Archer’s longtime connection to Scott Walker. After all, Archer was a key member of Walker’s leadership team during his time as Milwaukee County Executive, serving as his Director of Administrative Services.

Emails show Walker campaign treasurer John Hiller got inside information on real-estate deal

C’mon conservatives….defend this.

The campaign treasurer for Gov. Scott Walker got detailed financial information from a top Walker aide about a real-estate deal he was bidding on, according to correspondence included in thousands of emails released Tuesday related to the closed John Doe investigation.

The probe, which began when Walker was serving as the Milwaukee County executive, showed real-estate broker John Hiller lobbied for the county to sell its City Campus building then got detailed information from a top Walker aide around the time bids were being evaluated to provide office space for workers to be displaced by the sale.

The emails show that Walker personally helped orchestrate the deal to benefit Hiller, who was representing a real-estate trust that owns the Reuss Federal Building in Milwaukee. That company sought to increase the amount of space rented in the building by Milwaukee County.

The emails show that Hiller, Walker’s campaign treasurer, was given information by Cindy Archer, director of the Department of Administration and that Hiller repeatedly lobbied Walker to adopt his offer.

“Sorry to be a pain on this one,” Hiller wrote to Walker in an Aug. 18, 2010, email. “I really think that our proposal saves the county about $3 million over 5 years. If I didn’t think it wasn’t good for the county, I would (sic) push it.”

Hiller told Walker he had talked to Archer and “she was getting some info for me and she and I may meet.”

As if the multiple criminal convictions of close Walker aides wasn’t proof enough, this latest revelation shows just how corrupt Scott Walker is.

While many believe government is supposed to serve the people, Scott Walker apparently believes government is supposed to serve as a piggy bank to his friends and supporters.

Why did Brad Schimel forgo criminal charges against attorney who instructed client to destroy evidence in John Doe criminal investigation?

In 2010 the Milwaukee County John Doe investigation first came to light after Darlene Wink, a former aide to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, was charged and later convicted of political solicitation involving public officials and employees after she was caught using her taxpayer-provided County computer to do political work for Walker.

Image via Christopher Wiesmueller's Facebook profile
Image via Christopher Wiesmueller’s Facebook profile
Shortly after the allegations against Darlene Wink were made public, attorney Christopher Wiesmueller (pictured, right) emailed Darlene Wink and offered to represent her pro bono in her pending criminal case. According to this public reprimand of Wiesmueller by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, Wiesmueller knew Wink from his prior service for the Republican Party of Milwaukee County.

Soon after his initial contact with Wink, Wiesmueller met with her to discuss her case, and during that meeting Wiesmueller advised Wink to remove all evidence related to her political activity from her computer, including computer files and emails. Wiesmueller also offered to assist Wink with the removal of the evidence from her laptop computer, so Wink left the laptop at Wiesmueller’s office and Wiesmueller subsequently deleted the files from the computer and downloaded software to “wipe” the information from the computer.

Fast-forward to November 2011, when Wiesmueller and Wink met with the John Doe prosecutor and investigator regarding the investigation into the misappropriation of funds from a program created to honor veterans by Walker aide Tim Russell. During that meeting, Wink’s political fundraising activities were discussed, and after being informed that the investigation showed emails relevant to the investigation had been deleted from Wink’s computer, Wink was asked if anyone had helped her destroy evidence. While Wink denied having any help, attorney Wiesmueller admitted to the prosecutor that he had advised Wink to delete the evidence, but Wiesmueller did not admit at that time to his role in performing the deletion of emails and the “wiping” of Wink’s computer.

Based upon Wiesmueller’s statements, the prosecutor obtained a search warrant for Wiesmueller’s law office. At the investigator’s request, Wiesmueller came to the office and was present during the execution of the search warrant. Wiesmueller provided the investigator with copies of the material that Wiesmueller had copied from his client’s computer. In the course of providing this information, Wiesmueller revealed the content of his discussions with his client during their initial conference and offered his impression to the investigator that the computer files and emails were “the most damning things.” Wiesmueller reiterated that he told his client “to get rid of” the evidence. He did not admit that he deleted the information from the client’s computer.

Following the execution of the search warrant at his law office, Wiesmueller terminated his representation of the client. The client and her successor counsel met with the prosecutor and his investigator. In exchange for providing information about Wiesmueller’s role in the destruction of evidence from the client’s computer, the client was offered immunity from prosecution as a result of any information she provided in that regard. The client stated that she left her computer with Wiesmueller and that it was Wiesmueller who had deleted her emails and removed the evidence from her computer.

As the public reprimand of Christopher Wiesmueller notes, his destruction of evidence pertaining to Darlene Wink’s criminal activity was referred to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office for further action, but Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel agreed to a deal forgoing criminal charges against Wiesmueller (emphasis added).

The prosecutor referred the matter of Wiesmueller’s destruction of evidence to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office as the alleged crime had been committed at Wiesmueller’s law office located in Waukesha County. The Waukesha County District Attorney agreed to forego filing criminal charges against Wiesmueller provided he made a thorough and complete report of his conduct to the Office of Lawyer Regulation. Wiesmueller reported his conduct to OLR in July of 2012. He did not incur any criminal sanctions as a result of his conduct in destroying the digital evidence of his client’s crimes.

So what I’d like to know is why Brad Schimel decided not to pursue charges against fellow Republican Christopher Wiesmueller after Wiesmueller destroyed evidence that would implicate his client in an ongoing criminal investigation?

John Doe target looks to stall continued investigation

Despite the irrefutable fact that the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker and his aides has yielded a number of felony and misdemeanor convictions, conservative Eric O’Keefe of the Wisconsin Club for Growth is trying everything he can to keep the investigation from continuing.

Eric O’Keefe is throwing what amounts to another handful of nails out the car window, hoping to slow down the pursuit of prosecutors who are chasing Wisconsin Club for Growth.

That’s how we see the letter that O’Keefe, a director of the conservative group, sent last week to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Chisholm launched the secret John Doe investigation into the organization and its ties to Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

The letter asks Chisholm to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate … Chisholm.

O’Keefe’s latest tactic came just two days after the group’s federal case flopped before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago. The court decided this was an issue for state courts to decide. We agree. Wisconsin Club for Growth had argued that prosecutors investigating ties between the group and Walker’s campaign were infringing on the group’s First Amendment rights.

O’Keefe’s claim of misconduct by Chisholm is specious — one more attempt to put a roadblock in front of a legitimate investigation. It is based on a questionable report that Chisholm, a Democrat, had personal animus toward Walker, a Republican, because Chisholm’s wife is a public school teacher and union steward who was affected by Walker’s decision to push for a law to limit bargaining rights for public workers.

The fact that conservatives like Eric O’Keefe are so desperate to stop the John Doe investigation shows that they’re worried, because in my experience innocent folks have nothing to hide.

Mike Tate: voters don’t care if Scott Walker was at center of criminal scheme

According to a freport by Gilman Halsted of Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate says Wisconsin voters just don’t care that Gov. Scott Walker has been alleged to have been at the center of a “criminal scheme” to circumvent our state’s election laws.

As “proof” of his assertion, Tate cited super-scientific canvassing done at 3,000 doors over the weekend.

“We had volunteers that knocked on over 3,000 doors this past weekend to talk about Mary Burke and Democratic candidates,” he said. “What we heard at the doors wasn’t whether the governor was at the center of criminal scheme. We heard was that they wanted Wisconsin to get back to work.”

While absolutely agree that jobs (and Scott Walker’s failure to create jobs) should be the #1 campaign issue in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, I think Mike Tate’s wrong about voters not caring about Gov. Scott Walker being at the center of a “criminal scheme” to circumvent Wisconsin’s election laws – especially considering Gov. Walker has spent nearly a million dollars on legal fees associated with the investigation into his alleged misdeeds. I know a hell of a lot of voters who absolutely do care, because they want a governor who’s free from allegations of corruption and possible illegal behavior.

Then again, Mike Tate clearly knows more about what Wisconsin voters want than me, which is why he’s led the Wisconsin Democratic Party to so many electoral victories during his time as Chair (see 2010 State Senate, gubernatorial, State Assembly, and U.S. Senate elections & 2012 gubernatorial recall).

John Doe prosecutor: I voted for Scott Walker

This pretty much debunks the notion of the second John Doe investigation being a “partisan witch hunt.”

The special prosecutor in the ongoing John Doe probe says he has nothing against Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and the conservative groups at the center of the investigation. 

In fact, in a new court filing, former federal prosecutor Francis Schmitz opened up about his voting record to try to suggest that the investigation is nothing personal.

“I voted for Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s 2012 gubernatorial recall election,” Schmitz said in a sworn declaration filed with the U.S. District Court on Tuesday. 

This disclosure is intended to counter claims by conservative groups that they are being targeted by prosecutors because they backed the first-term Republican governor. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, acknowledges in a separate filing that he initiated the investigation. 

Scott Walker to Karl Rove: “We are running 9 recall elections”

Yesterday news broke regarding allegations Gov. Scott Walker was at the heart of a “criminal scheme” that involved the illegal coordination of Gov. Walker’s campaign and outside groups, including directing the flow of money, in order to influence the recall elections here in Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012. As a followup to my original post, I wanted to include what I consider to be the most damning quote of all pertaining to Gov. Walker’s involvement in the criminal scheme to subvert election and campaign finance laws, courtesy of an email Walker wrote to Republican strategist Karl Rove.

“Bottom-line: R. J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like running 9 Congressional markets in every market in the state.”

Yep, that sounds a heck of a lot like illegal coordination between a candidate/campaign and outside groups to me, especially considering the “we” Walker was referring to had to include R.J. Johnson, who at that time was a consultant to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign while also directing the flow of millions of dollars from a shell organization, Citizens for a Strong America, to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Right to Life and the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, all of which were/are allies of Gov. Walker and aided in his efforts to stave off recall efforts.

Prosecutors allege Gov. Scott Walker part of “criminal scheme” to subvert campaign finance/coordination laws

In newly released documents relating to the second John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker and some of his closest associates, prosecutors alleged Gov. Walker was at the heart of a scheme to violate Wisconsin’s campaign laws by improperly coordinating campaign activities with outside groups.

The documents, released Thursday and part of an ongoing suit, focus on one individual in particular: R.J. Johnson, a Walker aide who prosecutors say directed activities of both Friends of Scott Walker, the governor’s campaign committee, and Wisconsin Club for Growth, a tax-exempt “social welfare” group, during the 2011 and 2012 Senate and gubernatorial recall elections in that state. Prosecutors argue that Johnson used that latter group to fund and guide the activities of several other 501(c)4 organizations, the IRS designation for such nonprofit “social welfare” groups, and that he acted as a “hub for the coordinated activities” of the groups.

Under Wisconsin law, some forms of coordination between outside groups and a candidate’s personal campaign committee are allowed but are subject to disclosure requirements, according to the filing. Not only were such contributions not disclosed, the prosecutors argue, but banned and above-limit contributions were also made and accepted. The coordination, they allege, “resulted in either prohibited and illegal in-kind or direct contributions.” Defendants argue their actions were legal and allowed under state law.

Prosecutors say Johnson was also coordinating with the Republican State Leadership Committee, the national organization that seeks to elect Republicans at the state level, at least during the 2011 state Senate recall elections. The documents cite a May 4, 2011, e-mail from Walker to political strategist Karl Rove, in which Walker allegedly praises Johnson for his work on the recall elections.

For those of you who are interested, here are the documents in question.

John Doe exhibits released on June 19, 2014

On the heels of the release of the John Doe II documents, Gov. Walker reelection campaign announced a $245,000 ad buy in five markets beginning tomorrow and running through July 1.

Insiders say Walker’s campaign has dropped $245,000 to air a new commercial on TV stations in five markets beginning Friday. The TV spot will run from Friday to July 1 in Madison and Milwaukee as well as Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau. It will first air around 8 a.m.

While the Walker campaign may very well have decided to do the ad buy prior to the release of the documents alleging Walker was at the heart of a “criminal scheme” to subvert campaign finance laws, the timing certainly is ironic.

And as James Rowen noted, despite the fact that these latest revelations regarding Gov. Walker were a national news story, not one of our local news stations had the story as their lede on their 10 p.m. newscasts.