Imagine that Scott Walker was not America’s conservative poster boy.

Imagine that he was a liberal governor who had made national news implementing progressive reforms.

What would our friends at Fox News and on right-wing talk radio make sure every American knew? That the governor maintains a criminal defense fund, of course.

And on that front, recent days would have brought some interesting news.

While most Americans were preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve, newly released documents revealed that Wisconsin’s governor was quietly doing something else: transferring $40,000 from his campaign account to the secretive fund he uses to pay some of the top criminal defense lawyers in the country.

Walker continues to assert he is not the target of the John Doe probe that has led to the convictions of his closest political aide, his former deputy chief of staff, former scheduler and a top campaign contributor on charges of theft, violations of the public trust, making illegal campaign contributions and various other felonies and misdemeanors.

Much of the wrongdoing, which occurred in and around Walker’s Milwaukee County executive office, was associated with Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. And the probe’s reach has extended deep into Walker’s current administration. His gubernatorial press secretary has accepted immunity, as has his former press secretary, veteran GOP activists associated with Walker’s campaigns, and at least nine donors to his gubernatorial campaign. The names of several of his top appointees to state positions have been linked to the probe, including Division of Health Care Access and Accountability administrator Brett Davis. And law enforcement agencies have raided the homes and offices of current Walker aides.

So it should not come as much of a surprise that the governor has moved another $40,000 to his criminal defense fund, or that the transfers from his campaign account to the fund total at least $200,000.

It is possible the governor just fell in with the wrong crowd, accepted a whole bunch of money from that wrong crowd, appointed members of that wrong crowd to top public positions, and just didn’t notice that felonies and misdemeanors were taking place all around him.

But it is not possible to imagine that our conservative friends would neglect the evolving story of a liberal governor whose name was associated with so many people involved in so much wrongdoing, especially a governor who was still shifting so much money into such a large criminal defense fund.

By any measure, the governor’s gotten an easy ride on this one, not just from conservative media but from the major media outlets that so frequently take their cues from right-wing talkers.

As such, Walker has never begun to explain why so much wrongdoing has gone on in the offices and campaigns he has run. At the very least, this is something the governor owes the people of Wisconsin — not to mention his “base” of conservative followers nationally.

NEWS NOTE: Don’t forget that John “Sly” Sylvester is back on the air Monday on a bigger station that reaches Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa: WEKZ-FM 93.7 from 3 to 6:30 p.m.

John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. jnichols@madison.com

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(74) comments

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

John Doe probe of Scott Walker office closed with no new charges

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/report-scott-walker-probe-closed-with-no-new-charges-qh8vsfb-194194091.html

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/report-scott-walker-probe-closed-with-no-new-charges-qh8vsfb-194194091.html

Comment deleted.
Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Patriot, I don't think informed people find you credible at all. Rather than just reading comments, why don't you show us your debating skills if you feel so right about your point of view?

olno55
olno55

Leon Sandcastle says, "If it smells like a shyster, it's a shyster."

bookman21
bookman21

We are known by the company we keep. Incompetents are the best,/b> of those surrounding Walker. The others steal from veterans, flaunt state laws or entice children. Of course Walker needs a hefty defence fund.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

I think you meant "flout".

Norby
Norby

It is my understanding that a politician can only transfer money from their campaign fund to a legal defense fund if they are under indictment or "could reasonably" expect to be indicted. That leaves three alternative explanations. 1) Walker is under indictment (does not seem to be the case), or 2) he reasonably expects to be indicted, or 3) he is illegally diverting campaign contributions. Surely Skippie and his friends are not accusing our esteemed governor of fraudulent use of campaign funds. For shame!

Retoother
Retoother

Well your understanding is wrong..........better read up on it.

Norby
Norby

Retoother,
I have reread the statute and stand by my comment!

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Norby,
"I have reread the statute and stand by my comment!"

Reading comprehension is obviously not your strong suit.

Norby
Norby

Retoother / allamerican,
Please point out specifically where my "reading comprehension" has gone astray. If you want a serious discussion I recommend you look up the legal definitions of "agent" and "respondeat superior". It may change your reply. Just a hunch.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Norby,
Since you at least tried to support your argument, I'll reply to it.

Agent: (as it applies here) A person who acts on behalf of another.

Anyone that was working in the Walker offices that was working on Walkers campaign was CLEARLY an agent working on behalf of Walker. The statute and the definition are not difficult to read, anyone who claims that the people working on Walkers campaign in Walkers Milwaukee offices were NOT agents of Walker clearly have reading comprehension problems to the point of being functional illiterate or have absolutely no interest in truth or both.

Respondeat superior: A legal doctrine which states that, in many circumstances, an employer is responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment.

Please notice that the definition states that "in many cases" it did not state "in all cases" therefore this does not apply in ALL cases. This is where the prosecutor in the John Doe investigation comes in; their office must make the decision as to whether they have evidence to support criminal charges against Walker for HIS actions whether they are were direct actions or indirect actions.

Conclusion
Neither term you asked us to look at supports your original statement that, "a politician can only transfer money from their campaign fund to a legal defense fund if they are under indictment or 'could reasonably' expect to be indicted". Your understanding (as you stated it) is in error, your argument is false; it is your choice whether you allow that false information to remain part of your arguments or not.

There, you got the "serious discussion" you asked for! It's too bad you didn't bother to comprehend what you read and become a knowledgeable participant in the discussion.

P.S. Your hunch was also incorrect.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Norby,
Your understanding is not a good representation of what the actual statute states. There is a comment at the bottom of this thread with a link to the actual statute and my understanding of what the statute says. Read it for yourself.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Whoever the defense fund is for, Walker or any of his so called agents, don't you think WALKER has an obligation as Governor to tell the voters/taxpayers of Wisconsin why he has set up the fund? Or have YOU been designated as his spokesperson.

I would like to hear it from the horse's mouth.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Please show us in the statute where Walker must do what you've asked.

Just because you would like to here something does not mean that you will or that you should. There are lots of things I would "like" to hear from politicians.

geo_
geo_

spend more on a criminal defense team than 98% of your constituants make in a year.

skippie
skippie

Why is everyone obsessed with this and completely ignoring the problems senator Mendez is having?

Mike_Smith
Mike_Smith

SKippie, I have read the story twice and the headline twice......no where in this story that you just made this comment on does it mention Senator Mendez. Stay on topic or go look for a story on Senator Mendez to comment on.

Nav
Nav

Mendez? Is this what this article is about?

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Skippie, this is NOT the way to shape public opinion. Unless you stay on the topic, most people find you kinda irrelevant.

Shake
Shake

Ha ha ha. Maybe we should look into who Bill Clinton is dating. Oh wait over there.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Hey, guys, if Skippie is too illiterate to read the original article or find the "Reply" button, what makes you think he's going to pay any attention to your comments directed to him?

Norwood44
Norwood44

Walker poked the gov employee nest. They are an litigious lot. A fund makes nothing but sense.

Nav
Nav

This has nothing to do with Gov employee nest, whatever that is. The John Doe probe is a LEGAL investigation by the Milwaukee County District office that involve serious crimes that have been committed by people in the county who were hired by Scott Walker, and possibly by him.

Your trying to justify what the article is saying makes NO sense!

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Let justice run its course. Idle speculation serves to fill space and nothing else.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Justice running its course does not mean the voters of Wisconsin can't ask Governor why he is doing certain things that look rather suspicious.

And here I thought his administration was going to be very transparent. It is nothing but.

AdiosScott
AdiosScott

They ARE very transparent. THEY just don't know it!

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

I agree.

Well John - He's not fighting his shadow. If the liberal would stop bringing frivolous lawsuits and spending piles of money fighting every thing Walker does, then I guess he wouldn't need to keep spending $$$ fighting to defend himself. If you were facing constant lawsuits at your every turn you would be spending a lot of moeny on a defense fund too.

Nav
Nav

Oh now you are trying to portray Governor Walker as the VICTIM! Really???

I don't know that he personally is facing ANY lawsuits! I know he MAY be being investigated in the John Doe criminal investigation which has already led to several convictions.

There are plenty of lawsuits emanating from some of the bills he has signed, but for those he does not need a defense fund. The State pays for those defense costs.

In summary then, Governor Walker has deposited another $40,000 in his defense fund even though he has not even been charged! And he has not explained to the voters of Wisconsin his NEED to do that. People find this all very very curious.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Somehow I am not surprised that you find many things in life very, very curious.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Nice try middleoftheroad. You are neither middle of the road, nor very convincing. The John Doe investigation is ALL about what illegal things Walker may have done when he was the head of Milwaukee County. Sorry, it has nothing to do with liberals, Obama, or anything else you may come up with to distract the readers. They are not dumb!

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

Ok, not secretive but at this point it is highly mysterious why someone would need to spend that kind of money for lawyers when he is not under investigation. And it is secretive when no one is answering that question.

sherlock1
sherlock1

Referring to the fund as "secretive" is tremendously misleading since Walker filed a report to be made public. I read it on another site. No secret there.
Too the State Journal and Capital Times can't simply report rather than be gossip originators.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Please share us with the link of a credible report, as we are dying to satisfy our curiosity!

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

Is anybody going to step forward and say Walker is innocent? If not, let's move on. Adding Obama and Nichols to the discussion adds nothing.

Dode
Dode

Since none of the Governor's attackers have stopped their attacks, I would expect that the Governor's defense hasn't stopped either. Just another non-story from Little Johnny to suckle the troops. If Johnny wanted to really write a story, he would go interview Chissy to find out how his investigation is going and how much it has cost taxpayers.

Nav
Nav

Sorry Dode,

Readers of this blog do not find your silly explanations. The District Attorney cannot legally discuss the status of the investigation, and you know that.

However, IF the Governor is ever indicted (and its an "if"), you WILL see "chrissy" on TV a lot!

Dode-is-a-choad
Dode-is-a-choad

Sooooooo smart!

Dode
Dode

And you are so dumb!

Mindfulness
Mindfulness

It frustrates me to think people who read magazines (Time) or watch television think it's the truth (yikes). It's only entertainment and there's always a lot going on behind the scenes that's never disclosed. Of course any politician is going to say to the press whatever will get them what they want or make them look good. Personally, I think government's corrupt and rigged. I mean, come on.....you don't think Obama's election wasn't planned out for years? or Walker's? or anyone's? The powers-that-be are leading the country around by the nose when they're able to sway the media into making the masses believe whatever they want us to. I, for one, won't be led.

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

Tomtom, that was a very clever circumlocution. Do you think Walker is innocent or not? Or is the strongest claim you can make that liberals want him to be found guilty? The second statement is true, but you avoid making the first claim.

And, would you like to comment on the premise of the article (that Fox would be on this story every news cycle if Walker were a liberal)? If you want to post "It isn't news when a liberal consorts with criminals" go ahead, but it wouldn't be true; it would just be typical.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Clever circumlocution is what we mostly get from Tomtom, as he tried to do his job of shaping public opinion for Scotty. Those who are regular readers have known this all along. New readers will know it now.

tomtom33
tomtom33

I don't know whether or not anyone is innocent. But my guess is that if Walker has not been charged by now, he will not be.

If Walker were a liberal, the CT would be praising his every move. "Walker was right..." Fox News is outweighed by virtually every other mainstream news outlet. Here is a little evidence of relative new credibility. "On January 14, 2010, the Public Policy Polling organization, a company that usually works for Democrats, issued a press release with the headline: “Fox the Most Trusted Name in News?” Here’s the first part of the dispatch: FOX THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS? Raleigh, N.C.—A new poll asking Americans whether they trust each of the major television news organizations in the country finds that the only one getting a positive review is Fox News. CNN does next best followed by NBC News, then CBS News, and finally ABC News."
O'Reilly, Bill (2010-09-14). Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama (p. 38). William Morrow Paperbacks. Kindle Edition.

blkdog
blkdog

john: thanks for the great column. don't expect walker to "come clean" to the people of wisconsin, or anyone else. really, is that what criminals do?

oh, in addition to his being an "eagle scout", let's not forget that he is the "son of a preacher". his parents must be mortified. so much for religion...

Permanent Tailgater
Permanent Tailgater

Since Scott Walker has a criminal defense fund I am quite comfortable referring to him now as the CEO of Wisconsin, *cough* (Criminally Engaged Officer) Scott Walker parading around the state and country on Wisconsin taxpayer funds is the most ludicrous charade of governing that I have ever witnessed and I challenge any prosecutor or law enforcement officer to do their job and bring this *alleged" *cough*criminal to justice. I know of no Governor in history who needed 200k in a criminal defense fund. I know of no administration previous or current that had so many convictions felonies and misdemeanors and offers of immunity. I know of no company who would hire someone who has had so many people indicted, accused and convicted of wrongdoing. If close to your whole precious administration has been charged with wrongdoing chances are good you are doing wrong in your current position.

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

" I know of no company who would hire someone who has had so many people indicted, accused and convicted of wrongdoing."

It is called the "Obama Regime".

Shake
Shake

Who in the Obama administration has been indicted little lone convicted?

Woman46
Woman46

@Lynne4300, prove it. Names please.

Nav
Nav

Lynne,

Alleging something does not make it happen. We would like for you to document your claim...if you can. If not, you lose credibility with readers on here.

Woman46
Woman46

Nav c'mon, when has Lynne4300 ever posted anything on here that would have ever given her credibility?

fishinguy
fishinguy

I can't say I'm suprised...again. More liberal crying. It really is amazing how much Walker can do wrong when you start cutting the democratic programs. If Barrett would have won, this would have been a non-issue. We would be discussing how we could spend more tax money, instead of worrying about money that his supporters gave him to do what he needs to do. Maybe Mr. Nichols should look into some of the work of our re-elected czar Mr. Obama, Oh, that's right, liberals can do no wrong.

Gayle
Gayle

You make big claims and back them up with nothing. A waste of hot air and name calling.
I'm thinking our POTUS is in office again because he was voted in by the majority, again. Anyone who could read his interview in Time Mag Person of the Year Issue, where he explains his vision for our country moving forward, (and it IS moving forward by the way as much as some of you hate to acknowledge that), and not embrace it, needs to move out of the country and live elsewhere. Incidently, you're using the term "Czar" inaccurately seeing as Barrack Obama was re-elected by the people in an election, which is the way our democracy has always operated. He will one day be remembered as one of our greatest presidents, and you all will pretend you knew it all along.

Funny, most of the stuff he's chasing now were never brought up during the election. If he thought these things were such good ideas, and if he thought the majority would be in favor of them, then surely he would have mentioned them and he would have gotten More votes right? He obviously had plans set for all these things as he is implementing them right after the election, but he didn't bring them up in any of the debates. Is it because the majority is not in favor. Barack only says what he think will get him a vote. As for your statemnet about people who don't embrace him moving??? Really, then does that mean all who don't embrace walker must move out of state? How about we do Not embrace Obama and next election we vote for another party? Or should we attempt a recall and not wait 4 years? Those always work - right?

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

I remain totally perplexed by the whole story. I cooperated fully with the law last year on a $0 budget. I can't imagine the kind of innocence that it costs $200k/yr to maintain. It must be a very close cousin to guilty. Just as perplexing is how people tout Walker as a presidential candidate. I know how dumb Wisconsin voters are (because they elected him AND Rojo) but I don't think the rest of the country is buying the kind of hooey that Walker is selling. They would care that his cell phone contact list includes mainly thieves, colleagues with immunity from prosecution, and mean rich people.

Well the left has spent FAR more trying to find something to charge him with and so far has NOTHING. Please tell me how and why anyone can spend that much money and still not have a single charge? It's because he has done Nothing illegal. If he had they would have something by now. They've pent 2 years and Hundreds of thousands.

MJJ J
MJJ J

Apparently all we need to know is that he was an Eagle Scout.

Mindfulness
Mindfulness

Oops....should have read 'our political and judicial arenas are nothing BUT lies, deception and shadow". I also forgot to mention other arenas such as the military, big corporations, the DNR, entertainment, etc....just about any large organizatoin that can 'shuffle papers' or make a phone call to increase their pay, keep someone out of jail, conduct ludicrous experiments, embezzle, you name it. There is so much physical and spiritual beauty on our planet, but its people live under the black cloud of commerce. Its got to come crumbling down soon.

ESully
ESully

He won't be honest, he probably has a getaway fund also.

Mindfulness
Mindfulness

Just another case in point of how MUCH (and how OFTEN) John Q. Public is kept in the dark by the powers-that-be. Our judicial and political arenas are nothing by lies, deception and shadow to mask whatever they want to do to get ahead in the 'good ol boys network'. You know the saying...."I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine".....well, I can't imagine anything gets done in government that doesn't have a kickback involved to someone's advantage. Frankly, I'm disgusted and angered that money and position rules the day and we don't even know the half of it. Wake up people. Thank you for an informative piece of media.

PosterX
PosterX

More attorneys = More jobs. Laser focus.

Nav
Nav

Spending $200,000 on "defense costs" when you have not even been charged makes little sense. I agree that the Governor needs to be honest with the voters (and taxpayers) of Wisconsin WHY he is having to do that?

tomtom33
tomtom33

Because innocent people have been crucified throughout history. The CT and the WI left would love nothing better than to add Walker to that list.

S54k
S54k

There are none so blind as those who won't see.

Nav
Nav

This is one of the most specious arguments I have ever heard! No one is crucifying anyone. Even the Governor has made no such suggestion!

The following are facts:

1. The John Doe investigation has not wrapped up even after several people have been indicted and prosecuted. Most of these were people who worked for Scott Walker when he was the head of Milwaukee County.

2. Governor Walker has repeatedly said he is not the subject of investigation, but oddly he set up a defense fund which is allowed only to be set up if a state official has been charged with a crime or is under investigation.

3. The Governor has not been charged with anything to date. BUT, he has been paying his legal team hundreds of thousands of dollars doing something he won't tell the people of Wisconsin.

When most reasonable people look at these facts, I do not think most Wisconsin voters think he is being crucified. They think he may be hiding something from the people of Wisconsin.

All they want to know is WHY he is spending so much money "defending" himself when he has not been charged! If the reason is wanting to protect himself from some imaginary "crucification" as you suggest, let HIM tell us that!


The Governor has not even been charged with anything. The Governor says he is not being investigated, much less crucified.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Nav,
"...defense fund which is allowed only to be set up if a state official has been charged with a crime or is under investigation."

Go figure that someone from the Liberal side of the isle would post something that was NOT THE WHOLE TRUTH and only post the part that supports their innuendo.

The whole truth is:

Any candidate or public official who is being investigated for, charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12, or whose agent is so investigated, charged or convicted, may establish a defense fund for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate or agent,, or any dependent of the candidate or agent, while that person is being investigated for, or while the person is charged with or convicted of a criminal violation of this chapter or ch. 12.

http://docs.legis.wi.gov/statutes/statutes/11/64

I agree with RichardSRussell above who said, "Let justice run its course".

S54k
S54k

Good point All11B, just wondering, what "agents" does walker have left who haven't been indicated, arrested or given immunity?

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

S54k,
"Good point All11B, just wondering, what "agents" does walker have left who haven't been indicated, arrested or given immunity?"

If I read it right, since the investigation surrounds activities in Walkers office and all the personnel there are his agents, Walker can keep the defense fund open right up to the point that the John Doe investigation is closed then he has to close it immediately at which point I think all the unused funds are returned to the campaign fund where they originated.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Remember Valery Plame? Carl Rove nearly bankrupted himself and appeared before a grand jury several times before Fitzgerald finally declined to indict him. Rove was never charged with anything.

S54k
S54k

All11B: wow, what giving guy! walker is the eaglest of scouts. $200k to defend his most junior "agents". I've changed my mind about the implications that he might somehow be involved in this "John Doe" thing. NOT!!!! Stop it All11B, you're really looking silly!

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

S54k,
"Stop it All11B, you're really looking silly!"

Well GENIUS I presented the actual statute and gave you my honest understanding of it, please Mr. Carnac the Magnificent tell me exactly where my interpretation is incorrect. If Walker is guilty, then the law will take care of it just like they have with the others.

P.S. I wasn't trying to change your clouded partisan mind, I presented the facts, gave you my opinion of those facts and even replied to your question in an honest respectful way and you choose to come back with that scarstic crap?!

You don't "like" my opinion that's tough!
Sleep well attack Chihuahua.

He has to do this because the left is chasing every opportunity to find something to charge him with. As long as they keep spending piles of money doing this, Walker sill be forced to spend money on defense. He's not spending it on offense...only defense.

Liberalsmakesense
Liberalsmakesense

Its not about the left, middleoftheroad. The discussion here is why is Walker spending so much money trying to already defend himself before he has been charged. Do you have an answer for us beyond your talking points?

Retoother
Retoother

You have to be charged to defend yourself. Nice twist and half truth.

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