Milwaukee’s Bruce Murphy has committed some solid journalism. He broke the Milwaukee County pension scandal that helped elect reformer Scott Walker as county exec and, ultimately, governor of Wisconsin. Good liberal that he is, Bruce has been doing penance ever since.
Bruce takes the side of unelected government commissars empowered to determine who can say what during an election campaign, when they may say it and with whom they may peaceably assemble. At one point, candidates for public office were submitting drafts of their campaign brochures to state government for prior approval. And The Founders thought the Stamp Act was oppressive!
Mr. Murphy is up at his worthwhile website Urban Milwaukee with “the 17 Biggest Mistakes by Brad Schimel.” It’s an attempt to discredit the attorney general’s eye-opening report on how a secretive government agency:
- Investigated private citizens for joining with like-minded citizens on issues of their own governance
- Forbad under penalty of law those being investigated from complaining to the news media (or anyone else, actually)
- But leaked one-sided information to a national publication in an attempt to influence a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Thursday, the state Senate Committee on Organization authorized the attorney general to dig deeper into the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Liberals, progressives and socialists are petrified that Schimel will find more bodies.
Mum on speech raids, outraged at exposing them
Your Squire is a former newspaper reporter and editor who also worked as a public information officer on behalf of Tommy Thompson. Our mistake was assuming all journalists — who historically brook no abridgment of their own First Amendment protections — would be vigilant of that right for other citizens. That it is their special mission to expose government secrets to the light of day. We were naive. Mr. Murphy holds — like Comrade Nichols, Dan Bice and Chris Rickert — that the Founders made a special carve-out for Professional Journalists not shared by the hoi polloi.
This requires Murphy to throw long to discredit Schimel in his defense of the interminable John Doe investigations waged by the GAB and Milwaukee D.A. John Chisholm. Many of Murphy’s alleged errors are the same thing, restated. Let’s focus on some of his more egregious:
1. Schimel disclosed that much of the intel collected by the GAB was stored in folders labeled “Opposition Research.” That’s Error #1 on Murphy’s list. The electronic folders, the Journalist reveals, “were that way when they were received by GAB.” What?! A computer file cannot be renamed? Why was it named “Opposition Research” in the first place?
2. Our Professional Journalist is upset that Schimel has not disclosed the cost of his probe. Have D.A. Chisholm and the GAB disclosed the cost of the multiple John Doe probes? Did we miss that final accounting?
3. Schimel “falsely claim[ed] the Doe probe had no discernible limit.” The Journalist counters that judges signed off on the subpoenas. In point of fact, the original judge overseeing the Doe, Judge Barbara Kluka, approved scores of subpoenas on the same day she was conducting a jury trial. (“Was John Doe judge a rubber stamp?”) She was eventually relieved of her duties in favor of Judge Gregory Peterson who ordered a halt to the implementation of further search warrants — the first of four courts to put a stop to John Doe 2.
4. E-mails the speech police collected from State Sen. Leah Vukmir, Murphy avers, “were probably office emails of Vukmir’s assistant Josh Hoisington.” A guy named Josh wrote Vukmir’s daughter concerning her ob-gyn doctor?
5. “Not enforcing the law equally against all leakers.” Murphy is particularly steamed that conservative Eric O’Keefe blew the whistle on the secret speech police and walks a free man today. Did some of Harvey Weinstein’s victims violated confidentiality orders? Lock ‘em up!
6. For investigating how GAB violated its own confidentiality order, Murphy holds, “the attorney general should now be investigated.” (Kidding you not!) Blaming Schimel for disclosing details of the State of Wisconsin’s over-reach is equivalent to blaming the Vietnam War on the New York Times’ disclosure of the Pentagon Papers.
7. Murphy finds the A.G. guilty of “Defaming Shirley Abrahamson, one of the longest serving such judges in America.” Like Barzini, many of us have suspected that the troublesome chief justice was behind this crackdown on conservatives all along.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Ask the man/woman on the street if they can tease out the difference between express advocacy, issue advocacy, between a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4, etc. This sorry episode exposes the idiocy of government-regulated political speech. With Facebook and Twitter, everyone is a journalist, there are no gatekeepers, all voices can be heard, voters aren’t stupid. They form the best jury.