BREAKING: John Doe Judge Confirms Wisconsin Press Letting Scott Walker Off the Hook

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.


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19 thoughts on “BREAKING: John Doe Judge Confirms Wisconsin Press Letting Scott Walker Off the Hook

  1. I would add that Open Records requests are not really “trying,” as some reporters might suggest. This requires a real lawyer, which requires resources.

    1. And I can think of only a few media outlets that have access to the kind of resources that would be necessary to make a real fight to have the full record unsealed. It’s a shame that our media isn’t fighting harder on this, but instead is content to sit idly by in hopes of not upsetting the apple cart, so to speak.

  2. So raise some $, retain an attorney, and proceed with “modification” efforts. Problem solved.

    Oh and his name is Jared Kellner in case you get tired of “15 year old boy”. Obviously your interest in this has to do with his tragic passing and not Walker’s alleged role- since…that would be shallow beyond comprehension.

    Looking forward to your Jared Kellner blog. 🙂

    1. Ben, if the emails exonerate the former Milwaukee County Executive, why aren’t he and his attorneys pressing for their release?

  3. John- Exonerate the former CE from what? Is he currently the target of a legal inquiry/probe? This blog would lead me to believe he isn’t.

    He should release the remaining emails to pacify you and Graeme? Lol! I’m sure he’ll get right on that. And allow me to save you a step: “If he has nothing to hide, he’d comply” is neither sound logic nor evidence of impropriety.

    1. I don’t believe for a second that Scott Walker was oblivious to all the criminal activity going on less than 12 feet from his office, and I think it’s unfortunate that prosecutors weren’t able to build a solid enough case to bring charges against Walker.

    2. Ben,

      I hope I’m mistaken in interpreting your comment as a distancing from the importance of “individual responsibility.”

      Gov. Walker got paid to be County Executive.

      As Republicans have already pointed out, for eight years he used it as a taxpayer subsidized platform to run for Governor.

      After the 42 second mark, here’s Gov. Walker in his own words: “….anything that happens with the County, the buck stops with me.”

      The John Doe emails are government property. They are about County business and belong to the taxpayers. As someone who claims to be a conservative, do you think the taxpayers need to be “pacified” w/r/t demanding accountability from their government?

      Per the JS:

      “Walker’s then-chief of staff, Keith Gilkes, in an email written the day of the O’Donnell Park accident, advised Walker’s county staff to “make sure there is not a piece of paper anywhere that details any problem at all.”

      If that isn’t an order to destroy government property, what is it?

      This was interesting: “If he has nothing to hide, he’d comply” is neither sound logic nor evidence of impropriety.

      Can you give me an example of unsound logic?

      Your argument works great for poor people, who do not understand their Fourth Amendment Rights, who are subjected to “stop-and-frisks,” by law enforcement.

      Since that doesn’t include Scott Walker, how is it relevant to this?

      W/R/T “evidence of impropriety,” a ***15-year-old’s body*** lying under a 13-ton slab of government concrete. The “evidence” is that someone died. As you know, there’s no statute of limitations on murder/depraved indifference.

      “Tip renews investigation into 1947 disappearance of 8-year-old girl”

      So at anytime in the future, if someone wants, they can schedule an appointment with the Milwaukee County D.A., the Wisconsin D.A. in Madison, or a U.S. attorney. They can sign a sworn statement stating that prior to a ***15-year-old’s death,*** they told Scott Walker that the two panels at the entrance were an imminent threat to life and property. They needed to be replaced. They can stipulate that those panels were being hit by vehicles going underneath them. That’s what caused the fatality.

      When was the last time the O’Donnell garage was inspected by a licensed structural engineer?

      If such a sworn statement happened, would it be enough to open another “legal inquiry/probe?” It depends on a lot of other factors. If they have a memo to Walker, that can be authenticated, that would count for a lot.

      Sometimes, however, Walker refused to read reports and he refused to release them to others:

      “Walker defends withholding Mental Health Complex report
      County lawyers won’t release it to auditor”

      “I don’t know what’s in it, so it’s hard for me to say” if it should be released, Walker said.

      That’s the taxpayers PAYING for a report and then the County Exec refusing to read it.

      Would a person making allegations about the death of a ***15-year-old *** reference Jerry Heer, the County Auditor, who won an award in 2009 for his report on “deferred maintenance” in Milwaukee County?

      I don’t know.

      Is there a pattern with Walker and deferred maintenance?

      We’ve got the recent fire in the County Courthouse. Is that all on Walker, all on Abele, or was it someone else’s fault?

      “County’s risk management director leaves post amid courthouse cleanup”

      Is there a larger pattern of “impropriety” with Walker? He became County Exec in April 2002.

      In 2005 news broke that the Milwaukee County Museum had blown its $6.1 million dollar endowment.

      In 2007 Umhoefer broke a Pulitzer-winning story about Milwaukee County’s “buy-back” pension scandal:

      “Ignoring county law and federal tax rules, Milwaukee County let employees change history by ‘buying back’ pension time from summer jobs in their youth. A Journal Sentinel investigation prompts the county to confess to the IRS.”

      Estimates are that cost the taxpayers around $50,000,000. It also put the entire $1.8 billion dollar County pension in danger of losing its tax exempt status.

      The “buy-back” pension scandal’s different from the Ament “lump-sum” scandal that brought Walker to power in a RECALL.

      As I understand it, when Ament was County Exec, Milwaukee County paid Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren to check Mercer’s work on the pension. If I’m reading capper correctly

      when it became clear that Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren and Mercer were both culpable, Walker refused to ask Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren to make the taxpayers whole. Not only was that huge for RBVD it reduced Mercer’s exposure. Everyone got taken care of except the taxpayers.

      Do you agree, or do you have a different take on this?

      BTW, did you see this? “County Executive Chris Abele’s administration is asking the County Board to authorize hiring the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren law firm “to obtain legal certainty as it pertains to Milwaukee County’s legal right to develop” the site.”

      This is just one of Meg Kissinger’s series about the mentally ill. Steve Schultze helper with this one.

      “Out of chaos, a baby is born”

      Once you know the history, “WEDC mess helps explain Scott Walker’s jobs failure” is no surprise.

      The image of Walker that emerges over the years is of a great campaigner/actor. He projects a likeable image and the oligarchs bankroll him.

      “Scott Walker Spent 88% of the Money to Get 53% of the Vote”

      He simply isn’t interested in governing and doesn’t get involved. He’s interested in polls, soundbytes and photo-ops.

    1. That’s what I was thinking listening to Graeme on Sly today.
      Call the Chicago Times, Boston Globe, or any other paper not owned by Scott Walker and the Koch’s. Maybe Ed Schultz and MSNBC have the funding and the balls to ask for the emails.

  4. I know we’re always laughing about Scott running for Prez, but this is one of the reasons I wish he would. It’s likely someone outside of WI will find this and other matters ignored by our state’s press worth looking into.

    1. Sue…that’s dangerous thinking…exactly what I thought when he ran for governor…someone from outside of Milwaukee County will expose him as the danger that he is…but nope…elected him governor twice now.

  5. Perhaps not to overstate what should be blatantly obvious, but do you really want this to blow up in Walker’s face in August of 2013, or would you rather wait until about October of 2014?


    1. Why not start now? No doubt there will be a legal fight to keep the documents sealed, so it’s better to start early with the legal maneuvering rather than waiting until it’s too late.

      1. Agreed. But as an individual, how or who can I contact to further the release and disclosure of Walkergate records? I assume VanHollen is a non-starter.

  6. Scott Walker remembers creating jobs as assemblyman in Wisconsin . It was easy with ALEC. 32000 UNION public sector jobs. It is not as easy this time with out using your tax dollars. Scott Walker has created ALL Wisconsin`s budget problems working for ALEC. In 1997 Walker and Prosser as state assemblymen championed for ALEC with truth in sentencing telling the legislatures it would not cost a dime it was to give judges not parole boards the control over sentencing. Then Walker filibustered to stop sentencing changes after the fact misleading ALL the legislatures. With out the sentencing changes Wisconsin`s prisons quadrupled over night. Most people sentenced to 2 years now had to serve as much as 6o years. As the Wisconsin Budget watch Blog shows . Stopping just a percentage of these long sentences Wisconsin would save 707 million per year. Wisconsin could have free tuition colleges. It shows Wisconsin has wasted 35 billion if you add the numbers to the state budget since 1997. Not including the building new or remodeling of 71 courthouses & 71 county jails & 273 police stations and dozens of prisons 28 billion plus interest. The total is over 70 BILLION plus the 100 Billion spent by social services to support prisoners families because the bread winner was a political prisoner as US Att gen Eric Holder explained. Then farming out prisoners in several states until the courts realized it was not allowed in the Wisconsin constitution. Wisconsin then hired 32000 union public sector workers to fill the jobs housing the prisners from deputies , judges, district attorneys all owe Walker for creating there jobs. 32000 UNION PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS. This cost taxpayers over a half million per day to house these EXTRA prisoners per day in Milwaukee county alone. This your reason for budget problems in Wisconsin. Big spender big government Scott Walker. Why does he not work for the people he is taking his check from the people ?
    Wisconsin Budget watch blog has a great article on this.

    1. Unfortunately, citizens of Wisconsin have a perfect example of the “Peter Principle” in the person of Scott Walker.

      “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”

      Walker is an incompetent executive; in the past it was proven as Milwaukee’s county executive and currently as Wisconsin’s governor. He is “crude and vindictive,” has no formal education or experience in law, accounting, political science, humanities, and education, and is “…fanatical and uncompromising…” which is the definition of a zealot. He is also immoral by his habitual prevarication or deceit and his decisions resulting in harm to the poor, the elderly, and the infirm.

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