For a guy who says he's not a target and only "cooperating" with the 2 year long John Doe Probe, Scott Walker spent nearly $200,000 on lawyers last year. That's a whole pile of money for a guy who claims to know nothing about what was going on in his Milwaukee County Executives office.
We now know how Scott Walker spent nearly $200,000 of his Legal Defense Fund last year thanks to the IRS report that was filed. In fact we know a lot about that fund now.
Walker sent $40,000 to his fund from his campaign coffers on the very last day of 2012 in order to pay the bills for his legal team which that were also made on the very last day of 2012. Walker had transferred $160,000 from his campaign account to criminal defence fund earlier in 2012, but it was insufficient to cover all the bills.
From that (the initial $160,000), the trust paid $115,000 to Gallo's firm (to the Chicago firm of former federal prosecutor John Gallo); $29,200 to the Steinle's firm (the Milwaukee firm of attorney Michael Steinle); and $1,300 to the Madison law firm of Lind Weininger. It also doled out nearly $10,000 to APCO Worldwide, a public relations firm.(information in italics was added by me for clarification)
That left the fund with a balance of $4,511 (insufficient to pay the bills, hence the need for an additional deposit).
In addition, Walker's campaign has been represented by former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, formerly of Michael Best & Friedrich, since November 2010.
Records show the campaign has paid Michael Best $8,485 in August, bringing the total payments to the firm to nearly $200,000 for "compliance" issues. Biskupic left Michael Best to start his own firm last month.
(more on Steven Biskupic and the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich below - yes, those names should sound familiar)
So what did nearly $200,000 pay for?
"The transfer covers work done to cooperate with authorities over the past year," said Walker campaign spokeswoman Nicole Tieman.That's a whole lot of money going out to pay legal beagles for a guy who keeps on saying he's not a target of the John Doe Probe that has been going on since May of 2010. On top of that his only contact with the John Doe has been a day spent with prosecutors that Walker initially claimed was done voluntarily. We later found out that that claim was worth a few Pinnochios.
The first-term Republican governor has said repeatedly that he is not a target of the probe into activities during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive. The investigation has led to criminal convictions against six individuals, including three ex-Walker aides, one appointee and a campaign donor.
Jump below the cheesehead squiggle for more of the tangled web.
Michael Best & Friedrich
You've heard a lot about this law firm if you've read any diaries about Wisconsin. This firm has developed a sleazy reputation lately. Hired by the Walker administration as well as the Republican dominated Wisconsin State Legislature, they've become well known - and not in a good way.
They represented State Supreme Court Justice Gableman (a notorious RWr) when he was brought up on ethics charges regarding his sleazy campaign for re-election to the state court. The representation wasn't the problem - everyone deserves representation. And their representation was so good that Gablemans trial before the State Supreme Court ended with a tie vote along ideological grounds (Gableman, himself, couldn't vote since he was on trial) and Gableman got off the hook with the case dying of tie vote.
The problem came when it was revealed that they represented Gableman free of charge and since then they had received Gablemans vote on every issue they brought in front of the Supreme Court.
There was such a stink about all of this that Gov. Scott Walker ended the use of Michael Best & Friedrich to represent his administration although Republicans in the Legislature retained them until Democrats got control of the State Senate after the June, 2012 recall elections (Republicans ended it the day before the new Democratic State Senator was sworn into office).
Michael Best & Friedrich is also the law firm where our state was
severly gerrymandered redistricted in a process away from the State Capitol to avoid any legal neccessity for disclosure or inclusion of anyone not invited and included those invited being required to sign oaths of secrecy. They're the law firm that withheld documents from the 3 judge panel that heard the case about how redistricting was rammed through the Legislature with little discussion and speed of light process through the 2 houses. Eventually, they and the State Republicans were given the largest fine ever (>$17,000) for withholding documents.
Even today, documents continue to be found that were illegaly withheld from groups suing over the redistricting process. District maps that were so gerrymandered that Republicans have a super majority in the Assembly and a large majority in the State Senate as well as sending a majority of Republicans to Congress despite a vote total that was largly Democratic.
Former George W. Bush US Attorney Steven Biskupik is not only well known as one of the US Attorneys who refused to resign when Barack Obama became President in 2009, but for the apparant political misuse of his office. When he finally left his US Attorneys post, he joined the law firm of ... you guessed it ... Michael Best & Friedrich.
We had a Democratic Governor, Jim Doyle, for 2 terms. Of course, Republicans were anxious to remove him with piles of money, lies, and attack ads. However, didn't really have much to use other than whining about Doyle being a "liberal", "taxes", "spending" and the usual GOP complaints.
Well, Steven Biskupic came riding in with a "scandal" perfect to use in an attack ad. The fact that he had to cross jurisdictional lines to do it didn't bother him. Biskupic was the US Attorney for the Milwaukee area, but he crossed over into the territory overseen by the US Attorney for the Madison area in order to charge a state worker with steering contracts to her former company.
Georgia Thompson, who arranged travel for the State of Wisconsin, took the lowest bid for the travel arragements she made as is required by State Law. Her former employer often turned in the lowest bid which Biskupic used to charge her with "steering" the contracts. The fact that she was simply obeying State Statutes didn't matter. The GOP had it's "scandal" and attack ads accusing Doyle of "hiring" a "corrupt" woman to steer contracts were soon airing all over the state despite the fact that she was employed in her position before Doyle took office, was in a State Civil Service position that Doyle couldn't appoint anyone to less hire anyone, and was, in fact, simply following the low bid law.
Well, it didn't work and Doyle was re-elected.
He filed the charges before the election and had to hold the trial afterward in such a severe prosecution it resulted not only in her conviction, but immediate incarceration at the demand of Biskupic. This conviction was so tainted and charges were so flimsy that an Appeals Court not only insisted upon Georgia Thompson having a new trial, but to be immediately released from prison. Charges against her were dropped.
Biskupic has since left Michael Best & Friedrich as the smell of scandal has started to permeate the law firm. He's starting his own firm and wouldn't surprise me if many, if not all, of his former MB&F colleagues start joining him in a "new" firm with a "new" name and begin all over again.
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It's Friday, so I'll be watching the news hoping for Happy News Dump Day!
Noise of rain has posted some awesome OLB pictures (starting here) of the action last night protesting education cuts at a meeting of the Milwaukee School Board.
4:42 PM PT: Well my heel clicks went unanswered. I'm not seeing anything Friday News Dumpish coming out and most folks are probably sinking their teeth into a Friday fish fry about now (if they can stand the 3 degrees and falling temperature without the wind chill factored in). So ends the week.
I might compose a diary on how Scotty Walkers new head of Corrections has now made free speech for employees a firing offense if it includes talking about the prisons being privatized (yeah, a bit of a teaser, there).