March 14, 2013
Shut down two weeks ago, the John Doe investigation of Milwaukee County employees was a massive disappointment to anyone hoping to embarrass Scott Walker. But the leaky probe served up one final insult to impartial justice when Democrat District Attorney John Chisholm found the technicality he needed to blow off the public interest by keeping the investigation’s costs secret. Fine, he can do that.
Other people can do other things. The salaries of Chisholm and his staff are public records. Chisholm won’t account for expenditures specific to his fishing expedition, but taxpayers can feel free to look up the salary data for, say, the openly partisan and anti-Walker Chief Investigator David Budde (more than $72,000 in 2011,) and decide for themselves whether the Doe was a good use of his time.
If that’s unfair, please explain why. People in the D.A.’s office spent some significant portion of their working hours for three years rooting around for offenses that proved mostly the fantasies of Democrat activists. It can legitimately be asked whether an investigation by partisans, supplying frequent leaks of information to fellow partisans, and conducted on the taxpayers’ dime begins to resemble a crime in itself.
Ponder this: Caught up by the John Doe trawler, a county employee was convicted of the crime of doing political work for a candidate (not Scott Walker) on county time. Operating the trawler, the D.A. and his investigators spent three years of county time fruitlessly seeking politically damaging information about Scott Walker. For those paying the bill, how do these activities differ?
The county employee has a conviction on her record for actions intrinsically similar to those of her pursuers, though monumentally less expensive for taxpayers. In both cases, the overarching question becomes, is this what taxpayers hire these people to do?