Although the reporting is wrapped in a convoluted opinion piece attempting to soften the blow and paint Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as some kind of First Amendment hero, the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that the attorney for Walker's campaign is working on a deal with John Doe investigators. The prosecutors are looking at possible illegal campaign coordination between Walker's campaign and outside groups.
The special prosecutors' efforts were delayed recently when Walker's lawyers were able to get a hyper-partisan federal judge to grant a temporary stay. That ruling, like many previous partisan rulings from Judge Rudolph Randa, will almost certainly be overturned on appeal. You can read more about Judge Randa in this recommended post from puddytat.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
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.
It would not surprise me if the Wall Street Journal "learned" of these developments directly from the Walker campaign or from other targets of the investigation like the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
What makes me believe that the story is accurate is that it would be totally consistent with Walker's previous behavior, namely to insulate himself from the criminal behavior then throw his cohorts and colleagues under the bus to save his own ass. He did the same thing in a previous investigation looking at his staff's campaigning on the public's dime when Walker was the Milwaukee County Executive. That investigation, now closed, resulted in convictions against six Walker associates and aides.
The Journal is trying its darndest to spin Judge Randa's temporary ruling as momentum for Walker, but it's just a matter of time before the appeals court overturns Randa's roadblock. Walker knows it. Biskupic knows it. Walker's partners in alleged crimes know it too, and so does the Op-Ed staff at the Wall Street Journal. They're spinning hard, but they're just digging a hole.
Wed May 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM CST: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the conservative groups that are under investigation are afraid that Walker will not only throw them under the bus, but will put metal-spiked snow-tires on the bus and drive it himself back and forth a few times...
A legal civil war broke out Wednesday among targets of a John Doe probe, as a conservative group sought Wednesday to block prosecutors from having settlement talks with Gov. Scott Walker's campaign.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the Washington, D.C., attorney representing the Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors questioned whether a special prosecutor in the case is negotiating with the GOP governor's campaign to seek concessions that the club might oppose.
The club and its treasurer, Eric O'Keefe, filed a federal lawsuit in February against special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and others contending the secret investigation into the 2012 recall campaigns violated their rights to free speech. This month, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in Milwaukee halted the probe as he considers the group's claims.
In Wednesday's letter, club attorney David Rivkin asked Schmitz's attorney whether Schmitz was attempting to reach a settlement, which he said would violate Randa's order. Specifically, Rivkin raised the question of whether a settlement might preclude Walker's campaign from associating with the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
Personally, I think it's all like a staged, professional wrestling match. "Ok, you pretend to be really mad and write a letter to the judge, and that will make it look like we're not coordinating, even though we did coordinate during the recall elections."
Whatever. It's still entertaining, even if they're not fooling anybody.