The secret John Doe II Probe, which arose out of the original John Doe, is very, very slowly revealing a few of it's secrets.
Steven Biskupic, an attorney who has represented Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, was named in a court order Thursday as an attorney in a case challenging the ongoing secret investigation into possible illegal campaigning during the recalls against Walker and others in 2011 and 2012.(bolding is mine)
The order, issued Thursday by 4th District Court of Appeals Judge Brian Blanchard, also revealed that the number of unnamed parties challenging the secret probe has grown from three to eight.
The order, largely procedural, reveals that John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz is asking the appeals court to take unspecified action involving a decision by Judge Gregory Peterson, who is overseeing the five-county probe, including Dane County.
While the John Doe probes are secret (like a Grand Jury), the secret court filings attempting to kill the investigation are maddening. There are 4 cases thus far, including one filed secretly directly with the State Supreme Court (bypassing all lower courts). And we know little about them because, well, they're filed and kept secret.
We know now, however, that Scott Walkers lawyer is one of those trying to kill the probe. And that just might explain this:
In its last campaign-finance statement, Friends of Scott Walker reported paying Biskupic’s firm $86,000 in legal fees. Asked earlier this month whether the payments were related to the John Doe probe, the governor responded, “I’m not getting into the details of it.”Whether Biskopic was one of the original lawyers or a new arrival joining the others is unknown.
Who is This Guy?
Steven Biskupic was US Attorney in southeastern Wisconsin appointed by George W. Bush and one of many who refused to submit his resignation when Bush left office.
He is best known having jumped jurisdictional boundaries to file a bogus case against Georgia Thompson, a state employee charged bid rigging. This bogus case was used in a series of attack ads against former Governor Jim Doyle (D) during his run for re-election. Biskupic achieved a conviction in his flimsy case, refused to allow her to remain free during her appeal (as Kelly Rindfleisch was allowed), and the woman sat in prison until the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals demanded her immediate release and reversed her conviction.
Despite the fact that the case was obviously politically motivated, the Department of Justice cleared Biskopic of ethical violations.
After he finally released his grip on his US Attorney post, he joined the law firm of Michael Best and Friedrich before leaving to start his own firm.
This is the guy Walker has working for him.
And then there's Michael Best and Friedrich. If you've read my diaries, you know they're the "go to" Republican law firm. Scott Walker hired them to do state business and they got to work.
The governor turned to Michael Best & Friedrich not only when his landmark collective bargaining bill ended up in court, but also for advice on drafting mining legislation, to fight aspects of his recall election and to represent him in the ongoing John Doe investigation.Yup, remember that secret redistricting that was done off site to avoid pesky Open Records Laws. The redistricting that only included Republicans who signed loyalty oaths, that kept out the public or public interest groups? The plan to redistrict that wouldn't allow anyone to see it before it was rammed through the State Legislature.
Meanwhile, Republican senators turned to the firm for help with recall elections this past summer, and leaders of the state Senate and Assembly hired the firm to help draft the state's 10-year redistricting plan — and defend it in court.
Yup, those were the guys.
Sweet deal for them, too:
The relationship with the GOP has netted the firm well more than $750,000 in legal fees since Republicans took control of the state last January, a tally that includes fees for work on redistricting, mining legislation and parts of work on Walker's recall campaign and John Doe investigation. Those are the contracts that have been made public. Several others have not.(bolding is mine)
According to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Michael Best & Friedrich is worth every penny.
They no longer represent Walker or Republicans in government because their reputation got pretty dinged up:
The firm on Jan. 3 received a stern condemnation from the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee over its handling of parts of the redistricting lawsuit. The judges accused the Republican leaders, and the firm itself, of "stonewalling," and "dragging their feet" in the case and were ordered to pay $17,500 in attorney fees.And all those free legal services sure paid off for them, too. He voted for their side in every legal action Michael Best was involved in until that got noticed by the press.
It was the second time Michael Best & Friedrich made unflattering headlines in less than a month. In December news broke that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a well-known conservative, had received about $100,000 worth of free legal services from a Michael Best & Friedrich attorney.
So, now that Michael Best is on the outs, it was a good time for Biskupic to move on out and hang out his own shingle. There's a lot of legal work that needs to be done for Republicans these days.
Don't ask Scott Walker about the John Doe or secret email system. He a) doesn't know a thing, b) says it's "old news", or c) says the case was closed.
Maybe he needs to change the title of his book. Instead of "Unintimidated" it should be titled "Unindicted". Might make a great campaign slogan.
Something stinks here in Wisconsin and it's not the cheese.