Monday, August 31, 2015

What you didn't just read in the Journal Sentinel

The Wall Street Journal somehow got its hands on internal GAB e-mails regarding the John Doe. The Journal Sentinel reported on the revelation but decided to make the thrust of its story the belief of one GAB staff attorney, Shane Falk, that Scott Walker really was a target of the investigation. This contradicted a public statement by Special Prosecutor Fran Schmitz that he was not. There was, apparently, bickering among the prosecutors.

I think the paper missed the story. Completely.

The more significant revelation - completely unreported by the Journal Sentinel - was that Falk was concerned about the impact of Schmitz' statement on the Burke campaign. Following Schmitz' statement that Walker was not a target, Falk blew up. He wrote three consecutive e-mails (including one that accused Schmitz of lying) that included the following:

If you didn’t want this to have an effect on the election, better check Burke’s new ad. Now you will be calling her a liar, This is a no win. I encourage you to roll with it, or tone down the press release a bit more to focus on how many times you said ‘alleged’ or say that people are drawing conclusions that have not yet been proven in a court of law or something.

In other words, a lawyer from the GAB was concerned that Schmitz was hurting the Burke campaign. That's a rather significant revelation.

Now, I appreciate that there is a benign reading of this. Falk may not have wanted the investigation to affect either candidate. Of course, there is no indication that he expressed concern over other statements and leaks which placed Walker in a bad light. But perhaps they just haven't come to light.
In addtion, the e-mail must be read in light of Falk statement - in another e-mail - that the  "sheeple" who elected Walker might have done it even in the absence of what he regarded as "dark money" and "propaganda."

But more fundamentally, it ought to have been no concern to Falk how the GAB or prosecutors' actions affected Burke's campaign. She decided to turn the investigation into a political football. If the guy in charge of the investigation didn't think the investigation pointed to Walker, it should have been of no moment that this contradicted a Burke campaign ad. She, after all, was the one who decided to run it. If Falk thought Schmitz didn't understand the investigation he was running, that should have been the issue - not concern for Burke.

No matter how you view this, I should think the fact that a supposedly non-partisan and neutral investigator was complaining about contradicting Burke's politicization of the investigation is quite newsworthy.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin

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