What follows is part four in an ongoing series of guest blogs by Graeme Zielinski, who is reporting on the latest developments in the Milwaukee County John Doe investigation of Scott Walker. In a Blogging Blue exclusive, Zielinski has confirmed that Wisconsin’s press has not made any efforts to have all the records compiled in the Milwaukee County John Doe investigation unsealed.
Exclusive to Blogging Blue: The judge in the John Doe criminal corruption probe of Scott Walker that resulted in several convictions of members of his inner circle has confirmed to me a few moments ago that Wisconsin’s press is content to let Walker off the hook.
Those are my words, not the words of Walker John Doe Judge Neal Nettesheim. But, responding to my inquiry over whether there were any formal efforts to modify or vacate the John Doe secrecy order which had until last week protected Walker from any further embarrassing revelations in the Doe proceedings, he responded thusly:
“There are no pending motions seeking to modify or vacate the secrecy order.”
This is significant because that means that media corporations such as Journal Communications or Madison Newspapers or the Associated Press have not taken even the basic first step in uncovering mountains of documents which have remained hidden from the public view, even though most of them directly relate to the public conduct of public officials, most notably Walker himself. They would spell out how close Walker, the first governor with a criminal defense fund, came to being put in the dock.
Nettesheim has said publicly that he will not release the documents, but, as he revealed today, nobody has done any of the heavy lifting to move him.
Walker has dodged the question of whether he wants the documents to be made available to the public, and there may be other documents related to his conduct that are NOT subject to the Doe order. But, as he begins his run for president, he has remained predictably and cravenly slippery on the subject.
Lawyers knowledgeable with the case have told me that Nettesheim is a “judge’s judge,” and the only way to change his order would be through formal legal proceedings.
What we discovered today is that Wisconsin’s mainstream media has not taken even that basic step.
Last week, hundreds of pages of emails, many made through a secret computer network revealed in earlier Doe proceedings, were released because they related to pending litigation over the June 2010 collapse of a Milwaukee County parking structure. Even that limited release was damning to Scott Walker, showing him illegally using taxpayer resources to mount a political coverup in the O’Donnell collapse, which killed a 15-year-old boy.
The emails showed that Walker and his army of Republican hacks were more concerned with his political fortunes than in the life of a boy, or in the safety of the people of Milwaukee County.
The right-wing has portrayed the Doe as a witch hunt against poor ol’ Scott Walker. The only way for the public to know?
Release the damned documents.