Madison, Wisconsin—To “plead the Fifth” is to refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self-incriminating evidence of an illegal act punishable by fines, penalties or forfeiture – This is what Walker is telling the citizens of Wisconsin when asked about the ongoing John Doe corruption probe just a week before a historic recall election.
Scott Walker refuses to answer questions or produce emails exchanged between him and former campaign treasurer John Hiller, in regard to the John Doe corruption probe. The probe appears to be looking into the bidding process involved with the move of the County’s Department of Aging into private facilities. Hiller worked for building owners that were at the center of the bidding in both 2005 and 2010. Some suggest that in this area the John Doe probe is looking for bid-rigging and other possible corruption.
In a conference call today with reporters, former Watergate prosecutor and UW Law School professor Frank Tueurkheimer, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and former Kenosha District Attorney Bob Jambois all confirmed that Scott Walker is under no obligation to remain silent to the citizens or the media. He enjoys a first amendment right to defend himself to the media.
Scott Walker must be in such a precarious position as to his role in the ongoing probe that his attorneys have muzzled him from saying anything public about the investigation. In short, Walker must have a choice between telling the public what he knows and defend himself which could possibly incriminate himself further or lie to the public and place the blame on investigators for his unwillingness to be transparent with voters.
It is important to keep in mind that investigators would welcome any statement Walker may or may not make about the investigation, in fact, only the John Doe judge could place a gag order on Scott Walker. In either case, the picture has become clearer that Scott Walker’s integrity has been shredded by his actions (or lack thereof ) and those of his agents during his time in Milwaukee County. Wisconsin’s tradition of an open and transparent government is being bludgeoned by Scott Walker’s decision to purposely dodge questions and shift blame for his inability to be forthcoming with citizens and the media.
Scott Walker repeatedly boasts he had the “Courage” to make the tough decisions that affect the livelihoods of working class. When it comes to a matter of giving Wisconsinites a transparent view of what he knows about the dealings in Milwaukee County and the John Doe investigation, however, he has turned into a yellow bellied coward who resorts to deceptions in order to deflect attention away from himself.
With the election just seven days away, the media in Wisconsin should assert their mandate as the fourth estate and demand answers from a governor who claims he has nothing to hide.
Some Fast Facts about the recently surfaced bid rigging allegations
- A breaking investigative report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggests that Scott Walker is at the heart of the John Doe criminal corruption probe that has charged six Walker associates with 15 felonies.
- Particularly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on January 25, 2012 outlines a bid competition to house the county’s Department on Aging in private office space. John Hiller lobbied on behalf of the brokers at the Boerke Company, including information on which county supervisors to approach to prompt a re-bidding of the deal.
- Walker appointed Hiller to serve on the Board of the Milwaukee Private Industry Council in March 2003. The Private Industry Council represents government, business, education, non-profit and labor interests in overseeing employment and training programs, funded mostly by federal grants.
- In 2004, Walker signed a resolution to guarantee a $1 million loan that enabled the PIC to buy and improve a building.
- In 2007, control of the Private Industry Council was transferred from Milwaukee County to the City of Milwaukee, following criticisms of the Council’s workforce development efforts and a UW study citing a “lack of leadership.
- John Hiller is not listed as a lobbyist with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County or the State of Wisconsin. However, a Hiller advertisement in a 2008 newsletter for the Commercial Association of Realtors certainly sounds like he was operating a lobbying firm. “JM Hiller Consulting LLC provides real solutions to your business needs with local government,” the ad reads. It goes on to list services that aid in project approval, zoning, grants and awards. The ad goes on to tout that Hiller has “…over 20 years of business and political experience to assist you in navigating the maze of local government…”[Commercial Focus newsletter, June 2008]
- John Hiller has certainly not been shy in continuing to leverage his close connection to Scott Walker since he has become governor. For example, the official calendars for members of Walker’s cabinet include meetings with Hiller, before and after his resignation from Walker’s campaign. Examples of these calendar entries include:
- Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin met with John Hiller on April 8, 2011
- Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith met with John Hiller and Maximus representatives on June 10, 2011
It’s time Scott Walker come clean to the citizens of Wisconsin and either say his lawyers have told him to not say a word or he has self-imposed the fifth amendment right in order to try and remain in power so can continue his ALEC funded assault on the citizens of Wisconsin. Remember, you can vote today at your county clerk’s office and if you can’t get there before Friday, remember to vote on June 5th, Wisconsin’s values hang in the balance.
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