Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
By: Brian Sikma
On Tuesday, several judicial and legal professionals took to the pages of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to defend the John Doe investigation being run by Democrat District Attorney John Chisholm. The secretive probe was started two years at the request of then-County Executive Scott Walker and was intended to root out several county employees suspected of embezzling public funds. Since then, the probe has come under a cloud of suspicion, as some believe it has morphed into a politically motivated investigation aimed at Walker.
Repeated leaks to the press and to political operatives, most – if not all – of whom are Democrats, of information about the inquiry has threatened the integrity of the investigation. Under state law John Does are supposed to be secret, with no information getting out. The well-placed and well-timed leaks mostly benefiting Democrat partisans threaten the appearance that the probe is simply a routine law enforcement matter. The Media Trackers discovery that 43 attorneys and staff, including a secretary with likely access to information about the probe, signed petitions to recall Governor Walker further damaged the credibility of the investigation.
The writers of Tuesday’s editorial defense of the probe cast themselves as impartial experts, experienced in Wisconsin law and thus able to reassure the public that nothing of concern has taken place with the high-profile investigation. Their credibility as self-promoted impartial experts has been shattered thanks to new information out today.
Three of the editorial’s writers appear to have signed Walker recall petitions according to a cross check of names and addresses with the Verify the Recall petition database. Those individuals are Patricia D. McMahon, former Milwaukee County circuit judge, Robert J. Jambois, former Kenosha County district attorney and Mark A. Frankel, formerly a Dane County circuit judge.
Additionally, campaign finance records show that all but one of the editorial’s writers gave to partisan campaigns or the campaigns of liberal judicial candidates. Not a single one of the partisan campaign contributors appears to have donated to a Republican campaign at the state level.
Frankel, who signed a Walker recall petition, gave $4,229 to candidates between 1999 and 2010. All contributions to partisan races went to Democratic campaigns. In 2010 Frankel contributed to the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Barrett, the man expected to benefit from any last minute news released by Chisholm regarding the John Doe investigation Frankel is now defending.
E. Michael McCann, another of the editorial’s writers, is the Milwaukee district attorney who preceded John Chisholm in office. McCann was Chisholm’s boss in the DA’s office, and endorsed Chisholm in the 2006 district attorney’s race. He has also given money to Chisholm’s campaign.
Not all of the arguments raised by these professionals in their editorial are sound. For example, it would be impossible for any of them to have first-hand knowledge of secrecy violations in the John Doe without violating the law with their knowledge. Thus, an assertion that to their knowledge no leaks have come from people working on the case is a hollow exercise in circular reasoning.
What is quite clear is that the writers of the editorial are not entirely detached from the Wisconsin political process. With some of the piece’s writers signing Walker recall petitions, and a majority of them giving money to liberal and Democratic campaigns, their collective credibility as impartial observers of the process is defeated by their own ideological and partisan actions.