Tuesday, April 12, 2016

AG Schimel shows who he works for- not us

Good work by the Journal-Sentinel’s Patrick Marley this afternoon in exposing more scumminess at the Wisconsin Capitol. This time it comes from our alleged “top cop” being led by the nose from a group of amoral slime who are trying to eradicate the state’s campaign finance laws through the John Doe cases and trelated lawsuits. The particular situation involves Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm asking to maintain possession of John Doe evidence to defend himself in a lawsuit filed against him by Scott Walker appointee Cindy Archer.
Documents released Tuesday under the state's open records law show the lawyers suing Chisholm provided Schimel's team with an outline of how to frame its argument trying to keep Chisholm from having easy access to material seized in a probe of Gov. Scott Walker's campaign....

The records released Tuesday show Andrew Grossman, an attorney at the firm representing Archer, on Jan. 7 provided Deputy Attorney General Andrew Cook a copy of filings by Chisholm's team seeking to keep the material prosecutors had seized.

"Please let me know if there's anything else we can do to assist," Grossman wrote.

Two week's later, on Jan. 21, Grossman's firm sent an overnight letter to Assistant Attorney General David Meany with a three-page legal memo titled "Proposed Issue Outline for Wisconsin Amicus Brief in Archer v. Chisholm."

A week later, on Jan. 29, Schimel and his aides filed their friend-of-the-court brief siding with Archer.
Now, both Grossman and Schimel's spokesperson are shrugging this type of coordination off as legal and not a big deal. But legal/not legal isn't the point- it's the sleazy ethics and the question of "Who's ordering who?" I ripped this pic from John Peterson at Democurmudgeon, and my only hesitation in posting it is that Homer wouldn't do ethically sketchy things like Schimel does.

It’s not like we didn’t already know Schimel was a dim bulb, who only "earned" his promotion to AG because he was a political hack who threw former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen’s corruption case in Waukesha County. This cleared the way for Jensen to be one of the top money-funnelers to WisGOP candidates courtesy of the voucher lobby, and Schimel rode that help along with $1.5 million in "independent" ads from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and won election to the AG spot in November 2014.

But this is a different level of hackery and corruption, where Schimel is literally coordinating arguments with representatives for Scott Walker appointees to damage the prosecutor in a major corruption case involving Walker's administration. That's not really being an independent defender of the state’s laws (which is allegedly the job the taxpayers pay him to do). It should make anyone wonder where the line exists between the interests of Schimel’s Department of Justice and that of the right-wing oligarchs that seem to be the real shot-callers as to what the Wisconsin DOJ decides is an appropriate course of action (if there is any line at all). It’s not like this is an isolated incident, as in recent months Schimel has used his taxpayer-funded office to follow ALEC/Koch orders and sue the EPA for asking for cuts in power plant emissions, and play along with Governor Walker’s “hate the poor” games by suing the federal government for the right to make welfare recipients pee in a cup for benefits.

And it’s one thing to be a one-sided political hack in a job where you’re supposed to be fair. But for Schimel to basically outsource one of his job’s main duties to the same right-wing oligarch groups that got him elected is not only the mark of intellectual laziness, but also shows he and the Wisconsin DOJ isn’t even trying to represent all Wisconsinites in any doings.

Schimel and the Wisconsin DOJ have turned the office into an apparatus for money power that the people didn’t vote for. Maybe, just maybe, the DPW and related allies needs to send the following message loud and clear. “When you vote for any WisGOP legal “official”, be it a judge or a prosecutor, you are really voting for WMC, Koch Industries, and ALEC puppetmasters.” We didn’t hear that enough in the most recent Supreme Court race, and now this state will suffer the damage that’ll result from having the crooked and unqualified Rebecca Bradley polluting the bench.

And the shenanigans of Schimel, Bradley, and the other bought hacks on the State Supreme Court is exactly why we need to demand federal intervention in November’s elections, and to have the federal government be the investigator of WEDC misdoings. RW tool Schimel and the “WMC 5” cannot be trusted to fairly rule and carry out anything at this point. I just fear that waiting to kick these people out of power in 2017 and 2018 may still be too late.


  1. Dark money plays a big part in winning elections (https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2016/03/24/dark-money-group-vastly-outspending-candidates-on-ads-in-wisconsin-supreme-court-race/). The Wisconsin Alliance for Reform comes out of the same crowd that is suing John Chisholm, using a lot of Koch/O'Keefe money.

    Archer lawyers David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman are partners at the powerful DC firm Baker Hostetler. They have led the case against John Doe II (http://www.fed-soc.org/multimedia/detail/a-right-to-speak-anonymously-political-contributors-and-reporters-confidential-sources-event-audiovideo, at 6:20 point).

    Rivkin and Grossman's firm coordinated with Schimel on the recent multi-state lawsuit against the EPA Clean Power Plan (http://www.northamericashaleblog.com/2016/02/05/thirty-states-and-numerous-other-interested-parties-seek-an-immediate-supreme-court-stay-of-the-epas-clean-power-plan/, see petition p. 62), as they did with AG Van Hollen and their suit against the ACA.

    Dark money is too important of an issue for the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore, and more suits and pressure will come in the future if they refuse to look at it now. It can't be wished away.

    1. Good stuff there. And yes, John Doe is a good place for SCOTUS to draw the line and start to right the wrongs of Citizens United, especially on the disclosure front