You really have to give some credit to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. From a distance, you might expect him to be feeling a bit stressed out and sorry for himself. Not only did citizens gather 1 million signatures on petitions to force a recall election this summer, but a legal investigation into political corruption at his pre-gubernatorial stint in Milwaukee County keeps broadening, having already ensnared several former Walker aides.
But Walker not only retains his conscience-driven sense of public responsibility, he’s apparently also got some free time on his hands. That’s the only way I can explain the statement he released today (via TPM):
Over the last 20 months, District Attorney John Chisholm has been conducting an examination of issues in connection with former employees of Milwaukee County. . . . 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.
I admit that some cynics might look at this differently. Filtering out the spin, they’ll argue that prosecutors requested a meeting now after questioning enough of his underlings to tighten the noose — and Walker is lawyering up in preparation for a grilling. And they might find some support from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
A Walker campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests to elaborate on whether the governor had received a subpoena or formal request to talk with prosecutors or what they might discuss. . . . Taking questions from reporters last week, Walker said that he was not a target of the John Doe investigation.
But the governor last week declined to answer a question about whether he or his legal team had been contacted by investigators. Earlier in January, Walker had said flatly that he had not been contacted by prosecutors.
[Michael] Steinle [one of the lawyers hired by Walker] is one of Milwaukee’s most established criminal defense attorneys, representing defendants charged with everything from white-collar crimes to murder.
But c’mon, the guy’s statement said “voluntarily” not once, but twice! I mean, he’s obviously just looking to help the investigation out of sheer public-spiritedness, and hiring a high-profile criminal defense lawyer (and a former federal prosecutor) to consult with is just a way to, umm, er, ah, improve his memory for what happened.
It’s not like he’s ever tried to mislead the public before… is it??