Every once in a while, you see something that just seems wrong. A local blogger has apparently taken upon himself to pull together a few facts mixed with speculation and innuendo over something he calls "Walkergate." Although it is unclear just what is being investigated, he notes certain allegations that then County Executive Walker's staff engaged in political activity on county time or using county resources. There could be more - one would think that there is - but no one really knows for sure or what that might be.
Nevertheless, this blogger can scarcely contain himself. The scandal is big. It's sordid. The Governor is tainted.
Here's the strange part.
The blogger is Chris Liebenthal. The same Chris Liebenthal who himself was accused of political activity while on county time and using county resources. He acknowledges as much although he portrays himself as a victim, claiming that the documentation supporting the allegations was "very irresponsible." If you knew nothing of the matter, you'd assume he was pure as the driven snow.
But he was not. Whether or not the documentation was "irresponsible," the District Attorney's office said - after seizing his computer - that he had engaged in "extensive" political blogging at work. Later reports were that he had not "blogged" in the sense of posting to his blog but was visiting web sites with political content. Nevertheless, he was suspended without pay for ten days for what his supervisor called "blatantly disregarding" county policy.
To be sure, he wasn't criminally charged and, as I wrote at the time, I don't think he should have been - whether he was posting to his blog or not. To be sure, the County and the taxpayers had the right to know what he was doing. But any harm stemming from such activity is harm to the employer. While the applicability of state statutes might turn on whether or not he was posting - as opposed to merely gathering information. the matter was properly handled as a personnel issue.
But given that the only thing we know for sure about this investigation is that it was initiated by allegations that county employees have been accused of posting comments to the Journal Sentinel website and doing non-county work on county time, it takes a robust form of chutzpah to revel in the supposedly "sordid" and "tainting" conduct of people engaged in conduct very much like the very conduct that the reveler himself has engaged in.
At the very least and at least until we know more, one would think that a sense of self awareness, grace and just plain decency would have prompted him to acknowledge that he too succumbed to the temptation to pursue other activities on work time.
It is quite possible that the investigation will result in allegations of misconduct far worse than anything Chris Liebenthal was accused. (Given the resources being devoted to it, I would certainly expect that they should be looking for more than that.) Still, the idea that Mr. Liebenthal should be the left wing blogosphere's face for probity on the government clock seems a bit odd.