A secret probe into those around Gov. Scott Walker has continued after the June 5 recall election and expanded beyond Milwaukee County and into state government, new records show.It's been suspected that the John Doe Probe, initially started to look into the Milwaukee County Executives Office when Scott Walker was the County Executive and has been expanding in the last 27 months, may be looking at similar activities in Walkers statewide administration, but this is the first hard evidence of that. I try hard to stay away from rumors and speculation and stick with reporting via the TM or statements issued on the record.
The documents show that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm's office continues its John Doe investigation into Walker's administration even as the inquiry has gone publicly quiet over the summer.
The records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel through an open records request show that a Milwaukee County prosecutor sought personnel records from Walker's office and another state agency in June and then met with a top state lawyer the next day.
Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney David Robles on June 18 made an open records request to both Walker's office and the state Department of Administration for all communications "related to the designation and determination of individuals as 'key professional staff' of the Office of the Governor" since the time Walker took office on Jan. 3, 2011. Webster said there are 22 positions in the governor's office who fit this criteria, essentially everyone in the office who is not an intern or clerical staff such as secretaries.And here's the kicker:
Robles also asked for records related to assigning Walker aides or transition staff to "executive salary group 3," which is a state personnel grade applied to some staff in the governor's office. The pay range for this group is between $69,300 and $107,400 and it applies to four full-time positions in the governor's office: deputy chief of staff, director of policy, chief legal counsel, and director of communications. A fifth position, chief of staff, is at a higher pay grade for which the top possible pay is $125,300 a year.
Webster (Jocelyn Webster, a spokeswoman for Walker's office) said that at the state level all relevant emails dealing with state business are turned over in response to open records requests whether or not they were sent on a state system or not.(information in italics added by me)
Wow! Does that mean that there's some kind of non-state system in play in the Governors office, too? Remember that part of the Joh Doe Probe and indictments have to do with a secret router in which people avoided the archiving of emails by using a non-Milwaukee County system to use a private email system for communications.
The John Doe prosecutors have no comment on the revelations and, of course, the mighty corporate-paid awesome reporting staff at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn't include a word on reaction from the Walker administration or even if they asked for their comment.
Right now there's crickets on this from the Capitol Times, the Wisconsin State Journal, but that may be due to the fact that the story just posted 18 minutes ago on the Journla-Sentinel online. There is also no comment as yet by the Wisconsin Demcratic Party or other organization. I'll keep on checking.
The John Doe Probe in Milwaukee County has focused on Walkers top aides and campaign donors and it looks like there is similar interest in Walkers top aides in his office as Governor. If so, this might just be the start of a very bumpy ride.
Remember, the lid is on tight in this investigation. All of the information we've had so far has come from the serving of search warrants, indictments which have been filed, and court documents. Leaks that the Republicans have been loudly complaining about this year have been traced to the lawyers representing indicted Walker aides and not Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholms office which has been repeatedly been blamed by the GOP.
This information came directly from open records requests on top aides and not subpoenas. It's not much, but the knowledge that the John Doe Probe has reached inside Walkers state office means that this investigation is still expanding.
That's all for now. Thanks for being patient as I kept on adding information.
4:13 PM PT: As of right now, no local or state media has picked up on this story from the Journal-Sentinel.