At last the hungering public has a juicy Walkergate tidbit to pounce upon. I’m afraid they will stay rather hungry for justice and only gain more questions — assuming we are not being buffaloed by writer Steve Schultze (from the Pravda of Dairyland, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
Milwaukee County prosecutors, according to Schultze, say that two leaks from the Walkergate case came from “attorneys for one of the defendants”.
“Michael Maistelman, a lawyer for defendant Timothy Russell, sent an email to radio talk show host Charlie Sykes on Jan. 22, tipping off Sykes to the likelihood that two other former Walker aides would be charged that week. Those aides, Darlene Wink and Kelly Rindfleisch, were charged four days later on Jan. 26.” -source
[I should note that 1) MJS does not provide a link to the email, 2) we readers are not informed as to how this email was procured. 3) Update: I located the emails at WisPolitics. See page 13 for the Maistelman email.]
Why would Maistelman do such a thing? Before we even go there, why is it that strongly Dem Party-affiliated Maistelman is representing former Walker aide Timothy Russell in the first place?
I understand why Russell might seek to hire Maistelman. Russell seems to be sending Walker a message – that his loyalty will not necessarily stay with Walker and the right wing. But why would Maistelman take on Russell and work for free for about 2 years, as was revealed in a small dust-up conversation in court in April of 2012.
And why does a lawyer sneak a little email to his enemy about upcoming charges against more of Walker’s aides? And “enemy” is what Sykes is to the Dems. Sykes is on AM radio 3 hours a day delivering anti-liberal chat, pro-Walker “it’s working” messages, unions are horrible spin, and Obama has to go broadcasts to Wisconsin’s populous Milwaukee County. After Sykes got that email, he did develop a marked focus on discrediting the John Doe investigations and especially any leaked information (I took some notes on his shows to verify Sykes did so – see the end of the post).
We are left with the conclusion that perhaps Sykes is no longer the enemy of Maistelman. Perhaps they are allies.
It’s possible that Russell knows too much about not only Walker’s former administration in Milwaukee County, but also about Democratic Party players and all concerned now need the sensitive and manipulative protection that only Maistelman can provide.
One must keep one’s friends close and his enemies even closer.
Previous to working for Timothy Russell, Michael Maistelman was known for servicing a Democratic Party clientele such as Jim Doyle, Russ Feingold, The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, etc.
In 2005 he won a “Rising Stars of Politics 2005″ award by Campaigns & Elections Magazine and WisPolitics said
“Maistelman has gained a reputation as a tenacious advocate for Democratic candidates and organizations”. Maistelman even represented the lefty blogger Cognitive Dissidence against a libelous right wing attack and is the kind of guy who pops up on right-leaning TMJ4 TV as an expert while also serving as a trusted source on Wisco election law for Andrew Kroll of lefty mag. Mother Jones.
Maistelman understand the workings of both political PR and election law. This is what his sort of client expects.
Back in 2006 Blaska claimed that Maistelman conspired with partisan members of the GAB election board. That board came out with a ruling that punished Doyle’s opponent for illegal use of funds. Following, Doyle used the ruling as a smear against that same opponent, Mark Green.
I’ve read through the emails to the board members. The most damning part is in these sentences:
“the Gov’s Campaign and the Dem party and others will give you cover on this in the media. Even if this ends up in Court it is a PR victory for us since it makes Green spend money and have to defend the use of his Washington DC dirty money.”
According to Eric Schutt, Mark Green’s then deputy campaign manager, Maistelman was a sleazebag lawyer extraordinaire hired by sleazebag Doyle: “The information provided in these e-mails proves the decision was made well in advance of the State Elections Board meeting and that the decision was orchestrated by Jim Doyle’s attorney”.
However non-partisan campaign finance watchdog Mike McCabe was not stunned at Maistelman’s actions given the workings of the SEB. When quoted by The Badger Herald back in ’06:
“There’s not anyone who watches the SEB closer than I do, and there is heavy lobbying by both sides on issue after issue,” he said. “It’s not illegal, but it did provide some helpful insight into the political nature of the Elections Board….[The SEB] is a jury of politicians’ pals appointed by the very people they are supposed to be watching over,” McCabe said. “This whole affair is a vivid illustration why the Elections Board needs to be reformed and replaced by a politically independent board.”-source
Sykes: Discredits leaks in advance and called them “political”
Now you know that I have suffered in this lifetime. Each of Sykes’ shows is 3 hours long. I listened to a couple of Charlie Sykes shows in full and the other two by skipping through seeking mention of John Doe. I did this to myself because Maistelman leaked an email to Sykes on Sunday January 22nd. I thought I’d see if it made difference in his broadcasts. My conclusion is that it did.
On the Friday before he mentions not a peep about John Doe. On Monday the 23rd he blathers on it excessively. On Tuesday Sykes went on it for a while and then let the guy who does a show following him, Jeff Wagner, take it from there. It’s all the stuff we’ve come to expect from the right on the issue–just the drip, drip, drip of the world as he would like you to know it. At the 37:38 mark from the 23rd’s podcast:
“have you noticed by the way that it’s not even necessary for the Democratic DA of Milwaukee County to charge members of Scott Walker’s staff …all you have to have is unnamed sources tell the newspaper.. and we just broadcast that these are the allegations that are going on here. I remember when you used to have charges filed before it became the news story and now it’s the story that charges might be filed so whatever the charge is – and I didn’t mean to talk about it now – Whatever the charges are you know that they’re going to be treated like the 2nd Watergate even though every day since last February you have had political activities going on inside government offices using state, local, school facilities by union members, unionized leaders, government union… the whole nine yards. And what do you think the chances are that the D.A. in Dane County [did he mean to say Milwaukee County?] will even bother to investigate whether or not people – you know – government employees, government workers, union organizers engaged in political activity using government resources. Do you think there’s a chance that there will even be an investigation of this. And yet, just watch it will be just – oh – “flares” and “rockets” and “bells ringing” here in Milwaukee!…”
I can’t locate part 2′s podcast.
In part 3 Sykes says that Milwaukee County DA Chisholm timed John Doe charges to coincide with recall activities.
The next day, Tuesday, at the end of his 3 hour show he devotes his final moments with Jeff Wagner talking about John Doe leaks. Wagner asks why DA John Chisholm is putting up with the leaks? Wager says if it were a federal grand jury investigation situation then “somebody would be in jail”. Then Jeff Wagner kicked off his 3 hour show with some John Doe chit chat calling Chilsholm’s work a “political investigation” Wagner says that if Journal Sentinel isn’t making things up then somebody close to the investigation is making a timeline [he says a time-line of existing and potential charges appeared in the paper on Monday but I can't locate it]. “What is interesting to me is why the District Attorney doesn’t seem to care about this. It does make you wonder is this about a political witch hunt?”
For the record, and since I had to listen to it, on the previous Friday, the 20th, Sykes focused on a Presidential debate for his first hour and during the 2nd hour he talked about a team called “The Cougars”, and what Tom Barrett said about Wisconsin Act 10 in March 2011. In the 3rd hour he talked about the Keystone pipeline, Walker legislation, Kathleen Falk, C.O.W.S., Miss America, and various headlines but no John Doe talk.