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Monday, May 21, 2012

Hitting Walker for the John Doe Investigation and Abuse of Office

Yesterday, I went to a street fair. A block party fundraiser for the local community radio station. Bands played, much beer was imbibed, and -- of course -- talk turned to the recall election.

Walker's involved in a John Doe investigation where people around him are dropping like flies. Walker claims he's not the target of the investigation, but he's set up a legal defense fund -- something that, by law, someone not under investigation is not allowed to do. In other words, his actions belie his words. I was asked what I thought Tom Barrett should do next and I said compare Walker to Rod Blagojevich -- make it a choice between getting rid of Walker now or spending months in a media circus trying to get rid of him later.

So I woke up today, dialed up the superfeed, and saw the video above from the Barret campaign. It wasn't exactly what I'd described -- but it was close.


Partial transcript from Talking Points Memo:

“Scott Walker’s playing tricks with job numbers — because he didn’t like the real ones,” the announcer says. “Just like the tricks he’s playing with the John Doe scandal.

“Felonies, guilty pleas and over a thousand emails showing taxpayer dollars used for Walker’s campaign. If Walker received or sent any of these emails, he’s in deep trouble.

“He’s hired criminal attorneys. And Walker refuses to tell us what he said to the prosecutors. Doesn’t Wisconsin deserve the truth — before the election?”

Scott Walker's already in hot water over illegal campaigning -- and here he is again, coordinating the release of better (but highly questionable) job numbers with a big ad buy bragging about those numbers.

This is falling right back to the old habit of dirty campaigning that has him under investigation in the first place.

John Nichols:

In his rush to promote what he thought would be more favorable figures, Walker announced the “revised” numbers in press statements, social media and public appearances — organized and announced by the governor’s taxpayer-funded staff. At the same time, his campaign produced slick commercials with the governor announcing the news.

The commercials appeared at the same time as all the official promotion. And they raise a question: Did the governor and his official appointees and aides share the “news” with his campaign before it was announced to the people of Wisconsin?

In other words: Did Walker and his aides blur the lines of official duties and political campaigning?

The governor says “no,” just as he says questions about the John Doe inquiry and his criminal-defense fund are “bogus.”

Nichols goes on to quote recall group One Wisconsin Now, who worry about "the suspicious timing of a new television ad from Gov. Walker’s campaign, containing previously undisclosed information from an administration jobs report, and denials of consultation between the agency producing the report and the governor." If the timing of the job numbers and the ad are what they look like, this may not be so awfully legal.

Is Scott Walker Wisconsin's version of Rod Blagojevich? It's too soon to answer that definitely. But Walker's pattern of abuse of his office stands out -- even as he fights off a recall.


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