Skip to comments.Silent Running: The Burgeoning Wisconsin Scandal That Major Media Ignored
Posted on 06/08/2012 3:27:08 PM PDT by upchuck
If the Wisconsin recall is truly second in importance only to the presidential race, as many media outlets have trumpeted lately, then why have those same outlets so badly neglected one of that election's most salient aspects?
As millions of dollars in dark right-wing money pour into the state to preserve Gov/ Scott Walker from his progressive opposition, it seems relevant that he and many top aides are under investigation in a campaign finance and corruption scandal that has been growing for two years.
Yet the national media have largely ignored the fascinating details of that probe -- which has already resulted in indictments, convictions and cooperation agreements implicating more than a dozen Walker aides and donors. Only readers of the local newspapers in Madison or Milwaukee would know, for instance, law enforcement documents have emerged in court during the past few days suggesting that Walker stonewalled the investigation in its initial phase.
The typical reference to the scandal in the national media notes that Tom Barrett, Walker's Democratic opponent, is seeking to "stoke suspicions" regarding the investigation, "in which former Walker aides stand accused of allegedly misappropriating campaign funds."
But the suspicions have been stoked by actual events, not campaign propaganda, including guilty pleas, immunity deals and home raids by law enforcement officials. (Last September, a team of sheriff's deputies and FBI agents raided the Madison home of Cindy Archer, a former top county official who served as the governor's deputy administration secretary until going on extended "sick leave" in 2011.) And Walker's associates stand accused of felonies that go well beyond the mere misuse of campaign funds.
Without close attention to the Wisconsin media, you might not know that a top Walker associate is currently facing charges of embezzling funds from a veteran's charity -- or that Walker's former spokeswoman just became the 13th figure in the scandal to accept an immunity deal from prosecutors.
Indeed, nearly all of Walker's highest-ranking aides and associates from his years as county executive appear to be either facing prosecution or cutting immunity deals to save themselves.
What is easy to learn about the controversial governor is his confrontational attitude toward the state's workers and perhaps his fealty to extremist billionaires like the Koch brothers. From the perspective of Fox News -- whose TV personalities resent the idea that a public school teacher who imparts facts might receive a tiny fraction of what they are paid for broadcasting lies -- these are great virtues that they praise loudly. But in the mainstream media, there has been a curious reticence in exploring the sort of scandal that ought to excite reporters, editors and producers.
Of course, Walker has benefited greatly from the secrecy surrounding the investigation, which began in May 2010 under the "John Doe" rubric at the request of Milwaukee County prosecutors. According to documents that surfaced in court only during the past week, that original decision was due, ironically, to the prosecutors' belief that Walker, then running for governor, might cooperate with them if he didn't have to worry about damage to his own career.
On May 5, 2010, an assistant district attorney filed a court petition asking to initiate a secret probe into the disappearance of thousands of dollars in donations to "Operation Freedom," an annual event for local veterans partially underwritten by county officials. Walker was then the county executive and a Republican candidate for governor who would narrowly win the following November.
If the prosecutors could open the case under the cover of secrecy provided by the state's "John Doe" statute, they hoped to obtain greater cooperation from Walker's office in providing information and documents -- which had not been made available.
"It may be the County Executive's Office is reluctant to provide information to investigators due to a fear of political embarrassment," wrote Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf in the secrecy petition, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The irony of this revelation was double -- not only because Walker has used the investigation's secrecy to avoid answering questions or providing records to the local media, but because he has brushed aside the convictions and immunity deals by claiming that he "initiated" the investigation and cooperated all along.
Not so incidentally, the governor has established his own legal defense fund, into which he has so far transferred at least $160,000 in campaign money. It seems increasingly likely that his biggest problems may still lie ahead.
Meanwhile, however, he has escaped the echo effect that serious national media coverage of the Wisconsin scandal would have inflicted on his immediate fortunes -- and for that he should be grateful to the editors and producers who failed to tell the real story.
Wow, how 'bout this? A leftie crying in his beer 'cause the LSM won't report possible corruption by the right.
Its hard to believe that the DNC press would not trumpet a scandal like this right when they were trying to recall him.
You’d think the unions and teachers would be standing in front of the cameras around the clock detailing his alleged corruption.
If there were anything to it, aside from maybe law enforcement being used as a political weapon.
I don’t understand....corruption as extensive as Connason’s article states here, and being a Republican at that would not be dropped, omitted, skirted, or any other evasive inference one can come up with by the Leftist butt kissing MSM. It just would not be.
I call BS on this one, and am prepared for whatever bad news comes my way.
What is the status of the investigations of liberal voter fraud and Union collusion with Dem party activities?
So.....some people Walker knows have been indicted...
...so Walker must be guilty by association?
And how do we know about these investigations, and immunity deals....unless several other people are breaking the law to leak the information?
Sorry, I don’t know. I do know that if corruption involves the RATS you’ll never see it in the LSM.
When it comes to liberalism, Joe has always been a “ZEN Liberal”....he has a history, so don’t take him too seriously.
‘’As millions of dollars in dark right-wing money pour into the state to preserve Gov/ Scott Walker from his progressive opposition””
It’s only dark money or dirty money when it is for a Republican.
There is less to the story than what Conason is reporting. Yes, a few people are being investigated, some of them from when Walker was the Milwaukee Co. Executive, one lady was convicted of making campaign calls from the office, and then a pair of gay guys, one of whom embezzled money from a fund set up for veterans charities. They were campaign staffers for Walker and then were in the current administration. Walker alerted the DOJ to launch an internal investigation when the financial irregularities first surfaced. And it’s an investigation that’s been dragged out and splashed across the papers in hopes of tainting Walker during the recall.
Conason is a hard-core Communist. Period. End of Paragraph. End of Story. Anything he says has ZERO credibility. I can’t believe this story was even published.
They thought the biased Milwaukee DA was going to hand him over prior to the recall - right now they are holding out hope against hope that it will still happen.
Let me start another scandal, Walker is an alien
“What is the status of the investigations of liberal voter fraud and Union collusion with Dem party activities?”
Many of the dead voters must have been cremated. Enough that the busses carting in people couldn’t make the same day lines soon enough.
as opposed to all that bright and shining money poured in from all the unions dues extorted from it's membership, right???
“dark right-wing money “
lol, I thought money was green ... dark= evil, eh? sounds racist.
Gov. Sarah Palin got that treatment to the max in Alaska.
I thought Rasmussen was a polling organization. Does he also publish oppinions?
Never trust a rat! If I have a weasle working for me, sneaking around trying to get ahead by busting his co-workers, I might act on his information, but at the earliest opportunity, he is out the door!
A drug dealer that kept his mouth shut and did his time, I might trust to handle my money. One that ratted out all of his buddies, no way!
Oh, they did! No one bought it.
There’s nothing there. They’d have nailed him years ago. He’s what you see is what you get. He’s a clean decent guy. Left can’t stand it, that’s why they’ve been digging forever and haven’t found anything but a few issues with people working for him. They didn’t give him up because there is nothing to give up. They could have skated free for evidence but there’s nothing to give up. Nothing.
Dark right wing money? Dark? Isn't that, oh I don't know, a bit RACIST?
I was hoping somebody would come along and explain this "Walker's about to be indicted" meme I've been hearing from PMSNBC and others. Indicted for what? They never say.
Correct. If Joe Conason said it was raining I wouldn’t believe it until I checked for myself. He is well and truly scum.
Joe Connason is one of the worst liberal slime balls alive today. He has always had a problem telling the truth, and this article shows it.
Joe is mentally ill left wing crackpot.
At a Taos restaurant , crazy Joe tried to attack Don Rumsfield and his wife screaming he was a war criminal !
The man is Nuts and Delusional ! Why post this BS?
There is no such thing as campaign finance law when it comes to Democrats.
Ol’ Joe’s about a week or 10 days late if he planned to affect the election with this little jewel. Timing is everything, as they say.
Joe Conason - is this idiot still around to spread such drivel???
Rest assured that if there was anything in this that the media could use against Walker, they would have done so with relish before the recall election.
He’s not only a liar, but he’s MEAN......typical Democrat.
It strains credibility that they would not have been jumping up and down about this the day before the recall election, if they really had anything.
This investigation is about what, some vague law where dems keep misinterpreting and/or moving the line as usual? Was anyone killed?
Like what Rush says - (paraphrased) it doesn't matter whether or not the accusation has any merit, but "it's the seriousness of the charge that matters" (where Republicans and conservatives are concerned).