Governor states his aides aren't receiving help from his criminal defense fund
Six days until the recall election.
The John Doe investigation continues to gain attention, specifically over whether Gov. Scott Walker is a target in the probe over illegal use of government resources for campaigning purposes, alleged embezzlement of funds, and bid rigging within the office of the County Executive while he served there.
Walker transferred more than $100,000 to his criminal defense fund in the past month from his campaign coffers. In the prior month, Walker had also transferred $60,000, for a grand total of $160,000 from his campaign to pay for attorney expenses regarding the John Doe investigation.
Walker's excuse? The funds were necessary for sharing documents with Milwaukee County DA John Chisolm.
Walker said he put money into the defense fund so that he could provide thousands of documents to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, who is heading the investigation. Hiring attorneys was necessary to make that efficient, he said.It is time consuming to do such a task. But $160,000 seems a bit much simply to share documents. And state law on the formation of criminal defense funds imply that Walker's involvement in the investigation is more than simply "transferring documents."
"It doesn't make any sense as governor to spend my time, spending hours over days, doing that," he told reporters at a campaign stop at Laminations Central in Appleton.
An elected official may only set up criminal defense funds if and only if they are involved in the criminal investigation, like the John Doe inquiry, and only under certain circumstances. S/he may do so if they are a direct target of the investigation or are defending agents within their offices.
However, recent developments put into question one of those two options. Walker himself deflated any doubt that he's part of the investigation earlier this afternoon:
Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he will not use campaign funds to pay for the criminal defense of his aides.Emphasis added.
The question that's on everyone's minds is this: Did Scott Walker just accidentally admit that he's John Doe?
It would seem likely that Walker is indeed the subject of the investigation. Even before he made these comments, the matter seemed to be a foregone conclusion. But there's yet another reason to suspect Gov. Walker is hiding something from us all.
His opponent in the recall election, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, has asked the governor to release emails that were sent by Walker within his office while he served as Milwaukee County Executive. Those emails were sent within a secret network that was allegedly used by staffers for campaign purposes during county time. Walker has refused to release them, citing the secret nature of the John Doe investigation as reason why he can't legally expose the emails to the public.
But several lawyers, including a former Watergate counsel, have come out and said that's flat-out false, that Walker could release those emails if he really wanted to. In other words, though he has a Fifth Amendment right to keep them in the dark, there's nothing legally binding to prevent him from letting the public see them.
That he refuses to release them implies he's got something to hide. That he's lying to the public speaks volumes.
It's yet unofficial whether Walker is John Doe. But with less than a week before the recall election, his involvement in the investigation is paramount to his resuming his position of power. His excuses, that he's merely "helping" the investigation along, using a criminal defense fund improperly while doing so, seem more and more unlikely with each passing day.
The more likely scenario, especially given recent events, is that Scott Walker is John Doe.