Feeding frenzy ready: Media salivate over latest John Doe doc dump

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. – The long-awaited John Doe document dump drops at 10 a.m. Friday morning, and the mainstream media should be good and hungry for what promises to be a press feeding frenzy.

Milwaukee County plans to release the “initial 14 gigabytes” of materials and documents related to the lengthy and secret investigation into former aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker when Walker served as Milwaukee County executive.

The information includes “network documents” – word documents, pdfs, spreadsheets – and “work station data,” or other documents saved on individuals’ computers desktops, such as pictures and word documents, according to a statement by the office of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

14 GIGABYTES: The first wave of the long-awaited John Doe document dump begins Friday morning, with the release of 14 gigabytes of documents on flash drives. Expect a hungry mainstream media.

The voluminous files were originally seized in the court-sanctioned dragnet, launched in May 2010 by Democrat Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his staff.

Perhaps much to the dismay of salivating media, email accounts are not included in this release, according to the county executive.

“Attorneys are still working on other documents and the email turned over under the court order. It is too early to provide a timeline for the further releases that will follow,” the statement asserts.

In February, the mainstream media feasted on thousands of pages of personal emails from former Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch. The documents were ordered released by a Milwaukee County appeals judge.

Rindfleisch in October 2012 plead guilty to a felony count on a nebulous charge of misconduct in public office for responding to emails regarding fundraising on behalf of failed lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis on government time. She is appealing the conviction, asserting prosecutors grossly violated her Fourth Amendment rights. She never gave up her right to appeal even while entering a guilty plea.

Rindfleisch, who awaits the slow wheels of justice to turn in her appeal at her Columbus home, told Wisconsin Reporter Thursday that the court dragged out her personal life for public scrutiny, with media and liberal attack organizations salivating over every last detail for no good reason.

“I certainly hope that County Executive Abele abided by the standard and only releases what falls under open records law,” she said. “Unfortunately, in my case, my private emails, having nothing to do with my actual appeal, were released, which is an egregious violation of my Fourth Amendment rights.”

After nearly three years of extensive probing, prosecutors ended up getting Rindfleisch, and five other convictions, although four of the six had nothing to do with the original scope of the John Doe probe. The secret investigation finally ended in March 2013, a very expensive “political witch hunt,” according to critics, although the Milwaukee County DA’s office refuses to itemize the costs.

The left used the documents release as a rallying cry in its running narrative of a corrupt governor, despite the fact that the probe closed without any charges or accusations of wrongdoing lodged against Walker.

“I am still furious and disgusted about them releasing my private emails, most of which had nothing to do with my appeal and the charges,” Rindfleisch said in a June interview with Wisconsin Reporter. “The judge released it and it was fodder to make Scott Walker look bad.”

In June, Judge Neal Nettesheim, who presided over the secret John Doe probe, directed Chisholm’s office to hand over all documents and data that investigators seized from Milwaukee County employees, as well as county computers.

“Milwaukee County worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office in the transfer 500 GB (gigabytes) of information,” states the release from Abele’s office. “The judge’s order further directed Milwaukee County to review the John Doe material to determine the extent to which it may be disclosed under the Wisconsin Public Records law.”

Abele requested the Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel’s office to handle the public records review. The agency hired an outside law firm specializing in large-scale document review. Abele’s office says four attorneys have been working full time since June 30 “formatting, sorting, processing and then going through the huge volume of material to delete non-public material like social security numbers, private employee information, personal medical information and attorney-client communication.”

The county will officially release the first round of records at a cost of $22.50 per flash drive. Checks and cash will be accepted, but exact change is required.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Top