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Walkergate: Spinning Out of Control

Even though I’ve had some extensive experience with Scott Walker, having to deal with his prevarications and obfuscations for the past ten years, there are times where I’ll hear or see something that will stop me in my tracks and just gape in amazement of how much he tries to warp things to fit into his own skewed sense of reality.

This report by Kay Nolan, reporting for, provided me with one of these rare occasions:

Gov. Scott Walker continued to deflect questions Wednesday about when he first hired criminal defense attorneys in connection with an ongoing John Doe investigation.

And while Walker couldn’t say he was specifically barred from answering that question, he said Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm had asked him in general not to comment on the long-running probe that has snared former aides.

“He specifically asked me not to comment, period. I don’t think it’s very qualified. He’s asked me not to comment because it makes it difficult for him,” Walker told reporters in Oconomowoc, where he announced a WHEDA grant that will allow an empty former middle school to be converted into apartments.

Walker’s appearance was the first since media reports on his financial disclosure statement showed he owed at least $55,000 in defense attorney fees as of the end of 2011. Walker announced in February that he had hired attorneys.

Asked when Chisholm first made the no-comment request, Walker said, “I don’t have the date, I didn’t write it down on a piece of paper.” Asked if it happened last year, Walker answered, “Yes,” but quickly added that further comment would “violate what he asked me to do.”

Oy,he spins so much in just those few quotes that it’s enough to make you cross your eyes trying to follow his line of reasoning.

The key thing to take away from that jumbled hash of spinning is that Walker is now admitting that at some unidentified time last year he was directed by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm not to discuss the case.

Just to give Walker the benefit of the doubt, let us say that Chisholm told him to follow the secrecy order of the Walkergate investigations on December 31, 2011. That would mean that in no time in 2012 should he be discussing the investigation, right? Well, not in Walker’s world.

On January 5, 2012, upon the heels of the arrest and charging of one of his top aides and closest friends, Tim Russell, and two others, Brian Pierick and Kevin Kavanaugh (who was another one of Walker’s political appointees), Walker said that he was “extremely disappointed” over the charges. But he didn’t stop there. He also denied having had any contact with the DA’s office, except when he sent his then Chief of Staff to see the DA to initiate the investigation:

Walker was asked questions by reporters about the investigation during a conference call Thursday afternoon. Walked started, “I believe when looking at the news announced today that certain comes…in large part because of the initial concern raised by Tom Nardelli, my former chief of staff as to these funds.”

The governor was then asked about his knowledge surrounding the John Doe investigation. He said, “The only contact we had was through Tom Nardelli quite some time ago in initially bringing this up. That time we didn’t know who may or may not be involved. It was just our concern about the funds and what may or may not have happened with those.”

One month later, Walker again talks about the John Doe he claims he was told not to talk about. This time, he issued a tersely worded press release announcing that he had retained two high-profile attorneys*:

Over the last 20 months, District Attorney John Chisholm has been conducting an examination of issues in connection with former employees of Milwaukee County. Throughout that time, our campaign has cooperated with requests for information.

My cooperation in this matter extends beyond a willingness to supply any and all requested documents. I have already said that I would be happy to sit down with the people looking into these issues and answer any additional questions they may have. To make that point clear, last year, my representatives voluntarily contacted Mr. Chisholm’s office to arrange a time to discuss any outstanding issues. I will be voluntarily meeting with Mr. Chisholm.

To assemble additional background information, I hired counsel to insure that I am in the best position possible to continue aiding the inquiry. These attorneys, Mike Steinle and John Gallo, have been reviewing a great deal of material from the past few years, but no public money has been used or will be used for these purposes.

While all of us need to let this matter run its course, I will continue to cooperate and provide any appropriate information that is requested.

But the real kicker came in March, when Walker announced the formation of his legal cooperation fund**. Even though all the legal experts confirmed that this meant Walker was either the target of Walkergate, or at the very least, that he was being investigated, his spokeswoman, Ciara “Hooters Girl” Matthews, made this comment for Walker:

But Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said late Friday that the fund was set up “under the guidance of the GAB.”

“We reiterate that Gov. Walker has been told that he is not a target of this investigation,” Matthews said.

The funny thing about that one is that according to Wisconsin State Statute 968.26, the DA doesn’t tell the person he or she whether they are the target until they get served with the criminal complaint.

And these are only the examples that I came up with from the top of my head. I’m sure there are several more examples of Walker speaking of that which he should not speak.

It’s obvious that Walker has told so many lies and half-truths that he can’t even keep them straight anymore. I’m starting to think that Walker was indeed told to keep his yap shut, but he’s so scared that he’s no longer thinking straight. And he should be, there is already some pretty damning circumstantial evidence that has come out of the Walkergate trials already. Walker could very well end up losing the recall and then losing his freedom.

And I couldn’t think of a nicer guy for this to happen too.

*It wasn’t until last week that we learned, from his campaign finance report, that he had hired these attorneys sometime in 2011, and had already racked up a sizable bill in legal fees.

**Normally, people would call this a legal defense fund, but since Walker keeps telling us he’s done nothing wrong, and how he’s cooperating with the investigation, I felt this was a more Walkeresque name for it.

H/T MAL Contends

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