Criminal defense fund places Walker close to investigationWho is "John Doe?" That is the question of the hour, and should be on the mind of every Wisconsinite from now until the recall election commences.
John Doe investigations are secretive inquiries performed outside the public's eye. Not much is known during these proceedings, except what is leaked -- as well as who receives immunity in exchange for cooperation with the investigation.
A current John Doe inquiry is underway in Milwaukee County, where investigators are looking into whether illegal campaign coordination and embezzlement occurred in the office of the County Executive, during the time Scott Walker served the post while simultaneously campaigning for governor. Though the current governor hasn't yet been formally charged, nor is their indication that he's yet been officially investigated (remember, it's all secretive), all signs are pointing towards Walker being John Doe.
The smoking gun? Walker has set up a legal defense fund for use during his interactions with investigators. Though he's said that his use of this fund was merely for cooperative purposes, state law prohibits the establishment of such a fund unless the person involved or his direct agents are being investigated or charged with crimes within the inquiry.
From the Democratic Party of Wisconsin:
The G.A.B. affirms that the law is very clear: an elected official can only establish a legal defense fund if they, or their agent, are under investigation for, charged with, or convicted of violations of Wisconsin’s campaign finance and election laws.Furthermore, state law prohibits the establishment of such a fund (PDF) for any other purpose, including simply being of a "cooperative" nature. In other words, the defense fund can only be set up in circumstances that require it (as outlined above), not in circumstances that Walker has described his involvement as being.
With that in mind, the question has to be asked: is Walker establishing the fund for himself, or for an "agent" of his?
It's hard to imagine who else John Doe could be -- most of the eligible "agents" who would qualify for that label have either already been charged for their involvement, or have been given plea bargains or immunities for their cooperation within the investigation.
So at best, Walker has established a defense fund for some unknown actor who played a significant role in illegal activities while working for the County Executive (while at the same time is insignificant enough to stay below anyone's radar); or, Scott Walker is in fact John Doe.
The latter situation makes even more sense when you consider the investment Walker has made to his fund, including some $60,000 recently transferred from his recall campaign coffers to help pay for legal bills.
Surely donors to Walker are thrilled to know their donation to him is being put to use in this way.
Officially, this is all speculation still -- given the nature of the investigation, no one can definitively point to Walker and say that he is indeed John Doe, the subject of a federal investigation. But the fact is that this theory makes the most sense, that no other available explanation (including Walker's own story) seems to fit the circumstances as well as this idea, that Walker is likely the John Doe we're concerned with.
There's reasonable evidence to conclude that Walker is John Doe. Given his involvement in the case, Wisconsinites should be very wary of returning him to his post as governor.