Email date: 1/9/12
In this update:
1. Who’s John Doe?
2. Gableman and The Firm
3. In search of better disclosure and much, much more
4. Court writes latest episode in redistricting soap opera
Who’s John Doe?
Only the investigators themselves know where the secret criminal probe targeting aides of Governor Scott Walker is heading and where it will end. After the latest development – charges filed against a former longtime Walker staffer, a Walker appointee and a third man accused of child enticement – backers of the governor launched into full spin mode, peddling the idea that Walker initiated the whole John Doe investigation and now should be considered exonerated.
One problem with this claim is that for several months now the governor himself has been saying time and again that all he knew about the investigation is what he saw in the news. There’s also the inconvenient truth that Walker personally took the action that put funds under the control of the aide who now is accused of embezzling them. And there are several Walker associates who have either been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony or are otherwise under questioning who do not appear involved in matters connected to charges filed so far, suggesting that there are other dimensions to the investigation.
Gableman and The Firm
In the three weeks since the Democracy Campaign filed formal ethics complaints against Michael Gableman alleging judicial misconduct, the Supreme Court justice has been losing – badly – in the court of public opinion. But now it’s not only Justice Gableman who is under fire, but also the law firm that provided him with free legal representation. The lawyer with that firm who represented Gableman now may face an investigation into attorney misconduct, and already has stepped down from a committee that advises the governor on judicial selections.
In search of better disclosure and much, much more
With a new round of recall elections in Wisconsin and the presidential election season heating up, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized recently on the need for better disclosure of campaign activity. We certainly second that motion. But as our latest Big Money Blog emphasizes, improved disclosure is where reform starts, not where it ends.
In the interest of enhancing disclosure of recall electioneering, the Democracy Campaign just added a Hijacking Recall 2012 feature to our website to track special interest campaign advertising. You can lend a hand to this effort by using our Hijack Hotline to report to us any advertising you are seeing or hearing.
Court writes latest episode in redistricting soap opera
The flow of vast sums of money in election campaigns is not the only thing in need of greater transparency. A three-member panel of federal judges ruled last week that Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are trying to keep how they went about redrawing legislative district lines a secret.
Quoting from the ruling: “Quite frankly, the Legislature and the actions of its counsel give every appearance of flailing wildly in a desperate attempt to hide from both the court and the public the true nature of exactly what transpired in the redistricting process.”