John Doe probe takes another credibility hit
The chief investigator of a John Doe probe into alleged illegal activities by some members of Governor Scott Walker’s staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive is the subject of an ethics complaint himself. David Budde, a past Democratic contributor and a member of Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm’s staff, is the subject of a complaint alleging that his “outside activities” are in conflict with his role in the John Doe investigation.
Wisconsin’s Media Trackers reported that Budde has a Recall Walker yard sign and the anti-Walker fascist-looking Blue Fist poster in his window at his home. This revelation comes after another revelation that 43 members of the District Attorney’s staff signed recall petitions against Walker, casting doubt on the impartiality of the John Doe process.
The complaint was filed by two conservative activists, Tim Dake and Larry Gamble. It follows an article by Wisconsin Reporter explaining how Budde could be in violation of Milwaukee County ethics rules.
We would submit that Mr. Budde’s consent, either express or implied, to having a Democratic Party of Wisconsin “Recall Walker” sign put in his yard, and an AFL-CIO “Blue Fist” poster put on his front door (a poster considered to be anti-Walker in nature), while he has worked on the John Doe investigation in which Walker’s name has been mentioned, could be viewed as creating an appearance of bias or conflict of interest not acceptable for a legal investigation. Because of these facts, the particular language of the Milwaukee County Ordinances, and the public reports I am [sic] asking this board, the Milwaukee County Ethics Board, to consider investigating this matter.
Chisholm defends his investigator by saying the signs were put up by Budde’s wife and not by Budde himself, and points out Budde did not sign the recall petition. It’s interesting that Chisholm did not have an issue with so many of his staff signing recall petitions, but considers not signing the recall petition adequate defense from charges against Budde’s impartiality in the investigation.
It’s another indicator just how Chisholm has failed in his basic responsibility to keep his office out of the partisan fray while the investigation continues.