To hear pundits on both sides of the political spectrum the past few months you would swear Scott Walker is still a choir boy. His dad is a preacher so we’ll grant him that in childhood. And he factually was and remains an Eagle Scout.
These same pundits all over the now famous “lamestream” liberal media even suggested he should win the Republican Nomination for President. It is no secret that Walker has aggressively fund-raised for far more than just re-election as Governor of the State of Wisconsin. He famously, or infamously if you have a moral conscience, smashed public employee Unions in the State by depriving them of collective bargaining and enhancing the position of a State Government now entirely in the hands of his people right up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that is 4-3 for him on contentious issues.
It was inevitable that the thousands of e-mails seized from a Milwaukee County staff aide’s laptop computer in the John Doe probe from 2010 to 2013 would come to light. The question was when. That when is now. That staffer was in the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office when Walker himself was that official holding that very office. That data was sealed and secret, and is now made public via Kelly Riendfleisch’s appeal of her Felony conviction for Misconduct in Office.
Rindfleisch is not some rogue agent here. She was Walker’s Deputy Chief-of-Staff. Felony? Yes. Six months in jail? Yes. 3 Years on probation? Yes again. Riendfleisch is appealing her conviction and her attorneys needed full access to these e-mails and related documents to defend her. Problem is that they cannot be unsealed and released just to them. Public Records law makes it available to the press and any Wisconsin citizen who may be interested to learn more. And boy are they!
Now you Walker loyalists should know that this unsealing was triggered by the Rindfleisch appeal and not some liberal Walker- hating vendetta. But yes, it does give lots of factual ammunition for those wishing to knock Walker down several pegs, and there are a whole lot of us remaining here in the State despite that Recall win some years ago.
The e-mails conclusively, and not subject to debate, factually show that Walker knew about the work his staff were doing on County taxpayers time and dime, in conjunction with his campaign but mostly that of a Walker protégé running unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor in the Republican September 2010 primary. He knew that this was unlawful yet he permitted it right up to an e-mail generated from his cell phone which told those aides to shut “it” down. That infamous cell phone e-mail shows plainly that Walker knew fully what “it” was. The “it” was a fully separate e-mail system with separate router via Yahoo Mail private accounts of those same staffers and often shared with the Governor when he was Milwaukee County Exec at staff meetings. The router and computer directing the flow of information to staff was in an office just less than forty feet away from Walker’s office.
Does this mean an indictment of the Governor for misconduct while in office? Plainly No! Emphatically No! The highly professional and aggressive John Doe Probe of investigators had full access to so much and yet they did not move to indict Walker and that probe finished its business back in March of last year. End of story in a strictly legal sense.
We all deserve our justice system to do justice to all of us. That means the Governor of a State seeking the nation’s highest office right down to Kelly Rindfleisch, whose attorneys are properly pushing the idea that perhaps, though the facts are not in dispute, the John Doe Probe was overly broad when seizing all those documents including the thousands of e-mails. On the merits she should lose that argument almost certainly. But if you or I were accused of a crime—any crime, we deserve a full and aggressive defense. It must be a justice system and not an injustice system. Far too often it is the latter. Too often when all the powers of the State are arrayed against a poor citizen justice is not done. Remember that. Civil liberties and the protections of our Bill of Rights are essential if we are to have even an approximation of a real democracy. Those rights apply to those we disagree with just as much as to our friends and associates and those we agree with.
Alright my children, here is the red meat you want so badly. The e-mails strongly make the argument that Scott Walker has a significant character deficit in relation to all the offices he has held, sought, or holds now or hopes to hold.
The National Media from CNN, to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, to the Washington Post, to even the stodgy Wall Street Journal and the International Business Association’s internet mouthpiece and so many blogs and news sites on the net and more all are reviewing Scott Walker’s full record of public service as all presidential candidates must face. Just ask Mitt Romney. Romney is a good family man, honest enough to tell financial backers of his lack of faith in 47% of his fellow Americans. Though it quite properly shot down his elevation to the presidency, it does not make Romney or even the Scott Walkers of this world less than fully human. We all fall short as the Bible tells us. We are not our own gods even though many of us think we are. It’s as simple as that.
Even more ominous for Walker, is a second John Doe probe, yet underway, that has Scott Walker himself directly in its sights unlike the first John Doe. This second probe into Walker’s shadowy conduct has Federal and not mere Wisconsin County officials at its head. The probable misconduct and illegality regards too close a coordination between Walker’s 2012 Recall Bid and his national fund raising up to now with outside contributors and interest groups. IF true at all it is felony misconduct again. But now, on the Federal level and not just the State of Wisconsin crossing state borders all over the nation and involving many others too. This national fundraising and alleged illegal coordination between outside interest groups and his campaigns if true would even place him in jeopardy of imprisonment and complete ruin. Is that enough red meat for you?
Struggles for Justice’s own interests are not to punish or seek to harm Walker personally or especially his wonderful wife and children. No one, not even Richard Nixon deserves or deserved that despite our extreme distaste for his conduct. It is to ensure that the voters have the information to make the proper and intelligent set of decisions on Walker’s suitability for re-election and most especially what his character or here total lack of moral character says as to his suitability to be the chief magistrate of the nation as President of the United States.
Struggles for Justice, already knows without doubt Walker comes up short on all these voter and citizen assessments by an extremely wide margin. It is a mere question of time for even more voters across the nation and Republican loyalists to learn of this. His record of misconduct, unethical behavior, and perhaps even illegality demanding Federal prosecution include a fundamental character flaw in the man that runs clear back to his breaking Marquette University’s student code when running for President of his class at that institution from which he oddly did not matriculate. So it is.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
for Struggles for Justice