February 11, 2012
Hit by the revolving door
By Peter McKeever
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in September that the Wisconsin Department of Justice decided not to provide assistance to Milwaukee County John Chisholm’s John Doe investigation of then-current and former aides to Scott Walker. As a result of subsequent open records requests, the paper reported on December 30 that DOJ officials discussed the investigation on November 1, 2010, the day before Walker was elected, and again on November 15, 2010.
According to the paper, Chisholm met with DOJ senior staff on November 15. Among the staff present was Ray Taffora, then the No. 2 official in the department. It is safe to assume that sensitive and confidential information was discussed. This was, after all, a criminal investigation.
At some point, Walker’s campaign hired Attorney Steven Biskupic to represent his interests. Biskupic, a former U.S. Attorney under George Bush, is a criminal defense attorney with Michael, Best and Friedrich, a law firm with offices in Milwaukee and Madison. The Wisconsin State Journal recently described this law firm as “in-house counsel” for Walker and the Republican Party in Wisconsin.
Fast forward to January 20, 2011: Michael Best & Friedrich issued a press release announcing that Ray Taffora had left the Department of Justice and joined the law firm. It said, “Taffora will head the firm’s newly-formed Government and Regulatory law practice Group, which includes a number of highly experienced attorneys including former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic.”
Read that again: Taffora is now working with and apparently supervising the attorney representing Scott Walker in a John Doe investigation about which Taffora has insider confidential information from the prosecutor.
That cool arrangement gives whole new meaning to the notions of “in-house counsel” and revolving doors. On its face it suggests at the very least the appearance of a grievous conflict of interest. It also suggests once again that too many people who are benefiting from the current administration lack an ethical compass.
post a letter about this blog »
What say the Wisconsin Bar Association?
This is outrageous.
-Tom Larsen | Ojibwa, Wi | February 13, 2012
What does Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm have to say about this?
-pat | oconto wi | February 13, 2012