Once again we receive news on John Doe II from a conservative screed published in the Wall Street Journal.
In this latest “leak” we learn that Walker may be tossing one or more of the targets of the investigation under the bus in exchange for a settlement:
“The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker’s allies.”
Notice the last paragraph:
“On Tuesday a very clipped Mr. Biskupic told us that he was “not going to comment on anything related to any John Doe in Wisconsin because doing so would be a violation of court orders.” But after he hung up with us he warned other friends of Scott Walker about our call. Sounds like Mr. Walker has to decide whose side he’s on—his own, or the larger principles he claims to represent.”
Quaint. This is Scott Walker’s inner circle. It’s just like musical chairs: there are never enough chairs for everybody when the music stops. Of course Scott Walker is always left in the game.
Wouldn’t it be glorious if one of these allies mutinied on Scott Walker and spilled the beans on him for a change? Oh it’s tempting, but I don’t dare hope for it. Walker has a way of picking rats that won’t rat on him. Just as the meek are told they will inherit the earth, Walker’s patsies are promised nameplates outside this sinking ship of state.
For the reader’s convenience, I have copied the Wall Street Journal article in its entirety below. Like I said, it’s a conservative screed. You have to read between the lines.
Scott Walker’s Friends
Lawyers for the Governor may let prosecutors off easy.
May 27, 2014 7:38 p.m. ET
Wisconsin prosecutors have suffered a series of stunning legal defeats in recent months as they pursue a secret investigation of the conservative groups that helped Governor Scott Walker get elected. Those cases are shaping up as a major policy victory for free speech and political debate—unless a last-minute settlement rescues the prosecutors.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Getty Images
We’ve learned that Steven Biskupic, who represents Friends of Scott Walker, has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state’s investigation. The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker’s allies.
The secret John Doe investigation began with raids and subpoenas in October 2013 in pursuit of a theory of illegal coordination between the Walker campaign and conservative groups. In recent weeks the politicized investigation has been pummeled by judicial rulings that undermine the prosecutors’ entire legal case.
In February, John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson quashed subpoenas on grounds that prosecutors, led by Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm and Mr. Schmitz, had not shown probable cause that any campaign finance laws had been broken. Earlier this month, federal district judge Rudolph Randa issued a preliminary injunction stopping the John Doe investigation.
This legal progress makes the prospect of a premature Walker settlement all the more puzzling. Mr. Walker is facing a rough re-election fight this year, and perhaps he and his lawyers want to remove any chance of a September or October legal surprise.
Yet based on the evidence and legal judgments we’ve seen, the prosecutors should be on the defensive, not Mr. Walker. Judge Peterson clearly sees no evidence of any crime. The federal lawsuit that triggered Judge Randa’s preliminary injunction names the prosecutors in their personal and professional capacities, so they’re the ones who may need a face-saving legal exit.
Mr. Walker might think he can help himself with a settlement, but he’d be letting down his allies if he did so in a way that lets the bogus theory of illegal coordination survive. Wisconsin has an especially pernicious regulatory machine that targets political speech, and the legal backlash to the John Doe probe offers a rare chance to dismantle it. Mr. Walker is a hero to many for his fight against public unions, but he will tarnish that image if he sells out the cause for some short-term re-election reassurance.
The backstage legal wrangling is even more troubling because prosecutors have limited scope to cut a deal under Judge Randa’s preliminary injunction, which explicitly froze prosecutors from actions against the Doe targets. Any face-saving attempts by prosecutors to settle under terms that vindicate their campaign finance theories violate the spirit of the injunction and may put them in contempt of court.
On Tuesday a very clipped Mr. Biskupic told us that he was “not going to comment on anything related to any John Doe in Wisconsin because doing so would be a violation of court orders.” But after he hung up with us he warned other friends of Scott Walker about our call. Sounds like Mr. Walker has to decide whose side he’s on—his own, or the larger principles he claims to represent.